Introduction for Sollantra


Hi, I am Kate- and will be posting under my handle Sollantra. I am a community college professor of the Humanities, mama to a gorgeous almost 5-year-old son, partner to a wonderful, hardworking and loyal man, expat Australian and New Zealander and aspiring divorcee eclectically writing one hell of a story with my life and about to embark on my first time in a book group.
Every new semester I encourage my students to read- read their textbook, research, the news, gasp- a book. Last year I came across some research by Arum and Roska that peaked my student’s attention, it stated that students who read 50 per week and write 20 pages over a semester increased their critical thinking skills. Regardless, most of them still failed to read much of anything over the course of their semester. I was expecting them to have excuses like I don’t have time to read, go to the library, books are expensive, or even reading is boring. Instead I was surprised to learn many of them simply believed that we humans- as a species- had progressed past reading. Reading in their digital media saturated lives was merely a redundant antiquated method of storing out of date information. For them, books were akin to microfiche or floppy disks- strange artifacts only dinosaurs were still using.

This enlightening piece of information changed the way I taught appreciation of the humanities but for all my moral outrage and pedagogical fine tuning an important piece of the equation did not escape my attention—apart from my class texts and mountains of student essays, in the past year, I read very little.
Years ago, when Borkali first invited me to her reading group I had so many other priorities and excuses akin to the ones I expected to hear from my students. When, again in her infinite wisdom, she reached out to me I knew that it was time to return to doing the things that made me feel whole- and reading had a large part to play in making me, well… me.

When I was a teenager I set myself a challenge to read 52 books in the year. This seemed like an achievable goal, yet was still oceans apart from what everyone else around me was doing. Some days I plowed a book cover to cover while others took weeks. Year after year I reset the challenge. Before I even knew what a bibliography really was I diligently wrote down the authors and title of every book I read, along with the date I finished it.
My reading helped me to connect with ideas, places and concepts beyond myself and on occasion it even helped me to connect to those immediately around me.

I ended my 52 book challenge when I began my BA. Instead of handwriting the titles and authors in my little book they went into reference pages and bibliographies. Somehow Durkheim didn’t seem to fit in my little book alongside Terry Pratchett or the Secret. Now, my reading list is evolving yet again, thrust online into the world of blogging. Now that I find myself here embarking on bewildering new frontier while returning to my reading roots, I will also reinstate the apparatus that started all this so long ago- and also write it down in a book.

So as I begin upon my Winter reading session I am going to address the areas in my life that I wish to expand in the coming year.
Since I am about to begin teaching a new semester in American Humanities I am starting there and reading the stories of America while reflecting on my life here in America.
Suggestions are warmly welcome.

I am beginning with
House made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday and
Ruby by Cynthia Bond (My colleges One book for this year.)

Let the stories be read.

3 comments on “Introduction for Sollantra”

  1. Hello, Sollantra (solantratrainingasoul!)! Thank you for this generous introduction of yourself, which I loved reading. Should I count it as one page? I think so. The perspective of your students regarding books is completely unexpected. What? But there must be value in knowing this–say, a broader understanding of the world I live in. I had a similar shock when I heard a teenager who was addicted to online games say this: “Reality is so fake.” Now, think about that awhile. After I thought about it a very long time, I decided that he must mean that the conversations he was having online with his fellow-gamers was more open and intimate than the superficial conversations he feels people have face-to-face.

    So glad to have another first-timer here with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Teri, I’m excited I’m not the only newbie.
      As a former online game immersionist (my lived experience name for ‘addict’, I would agree that many of the conversations I had online were more intimate than those usually engaged in most real world situations.
      Your comment has made me hopeful this space will be as open. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello my friend and thank you for the lovely introduction! Jennie is also new to the crew, so you both are not alone. Welcome and happy reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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