Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Paperback Books

Published in The Clearing House, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Oct., 1959)

The paperback has made it possible for everyone to become his own librarian. The public school is the place where we teachers will decide how much of the paperback’s enormous potential for self-development will be realized. We intend in this roundup of paperbacks, old and new, to tell you how much pleasure and value we have derived from some of these bargain books. Consider this an open forum on paperbacks, were you can exchange opinions on other titles as well as ideas on how to use them in the classroom.

Medieval People by Eileen Power. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1954. 238 pages, 85 cents.
A fascinating social history of the daily lives of six medieval people—some ordinary, some extraordinary. The ordinary lives of a clothier, a housewife, a peasant, and a merchant are models of history reconstructed from such “uninteresting” documents as wills, monumental brasses, and household accounts. The extraordinary lives of Marco Polo and Mme Eglantyne (Chaucer’s Prioress) offer insights into political and literary history as well.

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. New York: Bantam Books, Inc., 1959. 438 pages, 50 cents.
A novel about a young man’s search for tenable ideals in a world of such complications s a demagogue not wholly corrupt and an idealist whose values are ineffective. Jack Burden’s encounter with good and evil, his confusion about the meaning of the past, are the struggle of everyman thinking his way to a personal ethic. A classic novel about ethics in private and political life.

The Fifty-Minute Hour by Robert Linder. New York: Bantam Books, Inc., 1956. 207 pages, 35 cents.
Five true stories of psychoanalytic cases dramatize how Freudian method discovers through analysis the origin of such disturbances as compulsive eating, violent aggression, and epileptic-type seizures. The accounts demonstrate the difficulties—and dangers even—that the psychoanalyst encounters in his work. Written in a style to engage even those who may disparage the science, the collection shows how the psychiatrist is worthy of his hire.

Separate Tables by Terence Rattigan. New York: New American Library of World Literature, Inc., 1959. 127 pages, 35 cents.
The original scripts of the two plays that later merged in one movie give the student an opportunity to study the art and dynamics of adaptation from one medium to another. Analysis of changes between script and screen (why does Rattigan’s left-wing writer become Hollywood’s ex-GI?), casting, and direction will teach much about both dramatic writing and movie production.

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