To mark International Literacy Day, Max McCabe and David Noone from 12th class, two founding members of the St. Kilian’s Poetry Club, kindly shared their thoughts on literature with us and gave us an insight into their own reading habits.
Max and David enjoy reading a wide range of literary genres and – unlike many other students – both have a passion for poetry. “Poetry has a really negative image among students”, says Max. David adds “I love poetry because it is the most expressive type of literature; people should be more open to it.”
One of David’s favourite poems on the current Leaving Cert course is The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. “It’s a poem about indecision. I love the descriptions in it. My favourite line is I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” Outside of the Leaving Cert course the students mention The proud thin dying, a poem by Charles Bukowski as being one of their favourites. It is a poem about the elderly and how they are struggling to afford to survive.
Things fall apart, a post-colonial novel by Chinua Achebe, is a book that David read recently and that he thinks is an outstanding and thought-provoking book that he highly recommends. “The use of metaphors is very strong. I really want to explore this genre more after reading this book.” The novel follows the life of a man in a fictional village in Nigeria, a hard-working and famed local leader whose life starts to fall apart.
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is another book that the two students both found to have a great emotional impact on them. They feel that it should be given to every teenager aged 15/16 because it deals with themes such as teenage angst and alienation, identity and belonging.
A very powerful and challenging novel in the students’ opinion is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s a book that they feel could take on a different meaning at different stages of people’s lives. They find McCarthy’s books to be very powerful and challenging. “He uses very little punctuation and he really gets emotions across.”
The Great Gatsby is one of Max and David’s all-time favourite books and they both first read it during their Transition Year – unfortunately it does not feature on this year’s Leaving Certificate course.
David thinks that reading should be an integral part of everyone’s life as it can open up new worlds. “You can give yourself new experiences and get emotionally attached and it can really change your mood.” Also, Max thinks, reading makes you more aware of different viewpoints. “A good book should challenge you or show you something different and give you food for thought”.
We are very lucky here at St. Kilian’s to have a school library that is really well stocked with a huge variety of genres suitable for all age groups.