Crossing Over - Author Marina Budhos' Website

Crossing Over aims to capture what all writers do: we cross over into territory both familiar and unknown.

Tag: Nonfiction

Guest Blog on Nonfiction Matters

Here’s my guest post on my husband’s blog-column in School Library Journal, “Nonfiction Matters”.

Recently, I’ve been delving into the past. My school past, that is. Yesterday, in one of my periodic organizational fevers, I went to the garage and pulled out a box of old school work from elementary school. My mother had thankfully saved it and I, in turn, have managed to carry the crumbling folders and yellowed pages from address to address, from my studio apartment in Manhattan, to the storage bin in Harlem, and out across the river to our New Jersey home, where we clog up the nooks and crannies of our house with far too much paper and books. The both of us are hoarders of the past, probers of the past, in different ways. And as we’ve raised our two boys here, guiding them through the sometimes bewildering maze of their education, our own past, our own experiences in school–for better or worse–flicker and inform some of our passions.

I have always nurtured a nostalgic, glowing image of my elementary school years—siphoned into gifted classes, taught by ambitious, gifted teachers, I remember those years as extraordinary adventures in reading and learning. I wrote and drew and made projects; reams of paper came home each day. Sometimes I wondered if was misremembering or casting those days with a nostalgic hue. But dragging out those boxes, I knew I wasn’t just romanticizing the past. What I immediately noticed was how many projects and book reports we always did—far more than I’ve seen my son do in his years in elementary school. Continue reading

Notes on Teaching Nonfiction in an English Literature Class

This essay, by Rob Nixon in the Chronicle of Higher Education, prompted a few thoughts on my own interest in teaching nonfiction in literature courses.  http://chronicle.com/article/Literature-for-Real/64453/.

I happen to enjoy mixing it up with nonfiction in my literature courses.  My two favorite courses, which are part of our Asian Studies Program, are Asian American Literature and Modern Indian Literature.  Because I am teaching students largely unseasoned in the actual experiences of Asian Americans or with only a vague understanding of the history of India, nonfiction and documentary materials become a vital spine to these courses.  And geeky history minor that I was in college, I just can’t resist injecting historical context into my literature courses—theory, post modernism be damned. Continue reading