Somerville Reads is a project that promotes literacy and community by encouraging people all over the City to read and discuss books on the same theme. For our third annual program, the subject is food—local, sustainable, delicious!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why you should read The Things They Carried

There are so many reasons why Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is the perfect book for our first community reading program. If you are curious about why we chose this book or just curious what the buzz is about, here are some things to know about The Things They Carried:

  • First published in 1990, The Things They Carried is regarded as the quintessential fictional work about the Vietnam War. The novel is composed of 22 individual stories, but also combines aspects of memoir, novel and short story collections. This is a book that is easy to read, easy to pick up when you have time, and easy to revisit again and again.
  • The novel is narrated in first person by a writer and combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He tells us soldier's stories - who they were before the draft, how they fought, and how they coped when they returned home. In its essence, these are stories of soldiers coming home and learning to live in the world again - learning to feel human again, learning not to be afraid, and learning to forgive.
  • The Things They Carried is a war story and as such, socially relevant to us now in 2010. The novel offers a lot to be reflected upon - spiritual, emotional, and psychological burdens that we all carry with us. Tim O'Brien has often said that the title is meant to go beyond just soldiers and the war to the human race in general. As a war story, there are several haunting and graphic scenes. We hope the opportunity to read these stories will increase your awareness and respect for all our soldiers, both veterans and men and women in active duty. We also hope these stories will make you pause to reflect on the things you carry.
  • Finally, The Things They Carried is also a novel about writing. The narrator and the characters in the novel often reflect on the process of storytelling and writing itself. We hope the wonderful depth this novel offers will give everyone something to cherish in reading this book.


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the novel. Here is a look at the 1990 cover and the new anniversary edition:


1 comment:

MR Lakshmi said...

Reading Makes Your Child Smarter

Reading is known to have numerous benefits. It increases your world knowledge, enhances your vocabulary, and works to improve your reading comprehension abilities.

But did you know that reading can actually make you smarter?

In fact, reading not only can make a child smarter, the very act of reading can even help to compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability in children by building their vocabulary and general knowledge! This is a finding reported by researchers Cunningham and Stanovich in a report titled "What Reading Does For the Mind".

The simple fact here is that reading can make your child smarter, and that learning to read early on is directly linked to later success in life.

1) Did you know that your child's vocabulary at 3 years old predicts his or her grade one reading success? [1]

2) Did you know that vocabulary and reading ability in first grade strongly predicts grade 11 outcomes? [2]

3) Did you know that your child's reading skill in grade 3 directly influences high school graduation? Studies have found that children who cannot read proficiently by grade 3 are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers! [3]

>> Give your child the best possible head start. Teach your child to read today. Click here to learn how.

But how do you teach a young child to read, and isn't that the job of the school and teachers?

You can't be more wrong...

With the right tools, knowledge, and techniques, teaching young children to read can be a simple and effective process. I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic reading program called Children Learning Reading, a super effective method for teaching children to read - even children as young as just 2 or 3 years old.

The creators of this program have used it to teach their four children to read before age 3, and by reading, I mean real, phonetic reading.

I can understand if you find that hard to believe... In fact, I had a difficult time believing it myself as well... that is, until I saw the videos they posted documenting the reading progress of the their children - not to mention all the videos other parents have sent in showcasing their children's reading progress after using the Children Learning Program. After learning more about their methods and techniques, it became clear how it's possible to teach young children to read effectively.

It is truly within your ability to teach your child to read in a relatively short period of time spending just 10 to 15 minutes each day.

>> Click here now to watch the videos and start teaching your child to read.

1. Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning
Andrew Biemiller, University of Toronto

2. Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later.
Cunningham AE, Stanovich KE.

3. Double Jeopardy How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
Donald J. Hernandez, Hunter College and the Graduate Center,