Now, if I understand the terminology I've been reading about correctly, this would be classified as student aesthetic reading leading to efferent reading, which is really exciting to me as so much discussion of the two seems to suggest they're must be separate--you can't read for fun and meaning!--when the majority of my students were doing just that. I've also continued reading Gerald Graff's Clueless in Academe, in which he suggests that one of the reasons students don't like to discuss meaning or analyze is because (as they see it) the meaning should be apparent--either it's there or it's not--and is therefor not worth discussing. What's the purpose in continuing to dig? But my students didn't mind when I asked them look for meaning in our texts because they saw it reflected in what they were already familiar with--their favorite TV shows, movies, and music.
Granted, this wasn't the experience of all of my students, and lest I leave you with the impression that they all loved all the books, that wasn't the case--surprisingly, however, they enjoyed Alan Moore's interpretation of Alan Quatermain the least. But with a few exceptions, they all found something to enjoy in at least one of the novels, and regardless, classroom discussions were always lively--my favorite was when discussions of post-colonial themes in King Solomon's Mines lead to a discussion of New Mexican water rights. Thus, the more I read, the more I think I was onto something in these classes, even if it was, at the time, accidental.
Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?