VOICES: A Reader is a collection of short stories, poems, plays, and essays designed to show readers how ideas evolve through the writings of professionals. The book contains thirty-one readings organized into the four literary genres of short stories, poems, plays, and essays. Most of the selected pieces are canonical and are widely held in high regard. The rationale behind the selection is the wisdom and beauty that they contain and that the process of thinking can be learnt by interacting with creative texts. To my mind, education to a large extent implies inculcating in the students the capacity to think clearly and logically about important ideas, issues, and problems, and develop a holistic as well as an analytical approach. Furthermore, detailed textual analyses should develop their competence in reading and interpretation of texts.
Each text is preceded by a short introduction of the writer and a critical observation on the selected text. The Word Notes appended after the reading explains a few key words and terms used in the text. There are three kinds of exercises designed for each reading: Meaning and Purpose, Writing Strategy, and Discussion. The Meaning and Purpose section contains exercises to test how well the readers have captured the meaning and thrust of the reading, that is, the content of the text; Writing Strategy section is designed to analyze the text in terms of its language and discourse features, including organization of the text as well as figures of speech; and Discussion broadly seeks to connect the text with larger questions and issues raised in the text and its relevance in the real world. Useful Terms, appended at the end, explains a few important literary terms that are most likely to cause the general reader some doubt in the context of literary works.
My most heartfelt gratitude goes to the great writers of the texts. Warm thanks to my friends and colleagues Padma Devkota and Hriseekesh Upadhyaya for help and encouragement. I would be most grateful for any suggestion for improvement from the readers.