Today was my first Philip Roth class. We are reading American Pastoral first and were to have read the first 100 pages today. I can’t go too much into the book because I haven’t finished reading it yet, but wanted to tell a little about the class itself. It’s a continuing education class from a local university, so there is no credit or grade given. You take the class to learn about something new.
I had American Pastoral in my ‘to read’ pile and thought there was no better opportunity to read it and learn. There were 20 people in the class and I was by far the youngest. But, even if I felt a little conspicuous I was not alone since there is also only one man in the class. Most of the discussion was taken up by the setting of the book, growing up in the 1950′s and I enjoyed the many perspectives of the class. I did not grow up in the 50′s and certainly do not speak for a whole generation, so, I’ll have to wait and see if I have anything of real value to add. To be honest, I really did enjoy hearing everyone else’s take on the decade, the war, the culture.
Our instructor loves Philip Roth. The most interesting thing I learned about him today was the fact that he writes standing up due to severe back pain. Virginia Woolf also wrote standing up. Does anyone know another author who writes standing up? I can’t even imagine it really.
If you have a chance to take a class and learn something new you will be better off for it. It’s not just the subject matter you learn, but also the knowledge that everyone in the class has to share.