How and Why We Read: Crash Course English Literature #1

  • Published on Nov 15, 2012
  • In which John Green kicks off the Crash Course Literature mini series with a reasonable set of questions. Why do we read? What's the point of reading critically. John will argue that reading is about effectively communicating with other people. Unlike a direct communication though, the writer has to communicate with a stranger, through time and space, with only "dry dead words on a page." So how's that going to work? Find out with Crash Course Literature! Also, readers are empowered during the open letter, so that's pretty cool.
    The Reading List!
    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare:
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
    Catcher in the Rye:
    Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson:
    Some of these are available from as free ebooks. You should check that out.
    Follow us!
    Support CrashCourse on Patreon:

Comments • 6 800

  • jonathan nicolas
    jonathan nicolas 2 days ago

    this is trash, guy just speaks fast and bunch of gibberish not much value in this like Kardashian presenting a topic

    • Arnold Knight
      Arnold Knight Day ago

      Don't you know how to pause or replay a TVclip video?

  • jkuy
    jkuy 5 days ago

    *"... Or bad vampire fanfiction"*
    ... Cough, cough ...

    *Bad Twighlight joke*
    Jk, jk

  • Kyla Anderson
    Kyla Anderson 5 days ago

    Please do a Crash Course on Edgar Allen Poe (aka my favorite writer... along with Shakespeare, but that's not relevant.) I know everything about his life. But I can't find anything about what he was like as a person... other than depressed.

  • Jade Alice
    Jade Alice 6 days ago

    The Great Gatsby quote tho...

  • Erel Glenn Estopito
    Erel Glenn Estopito 9 days ago

    There you go...
    1. Have a fuller understanding of lives other than your own
    2. Helps you be more empathetic
    3. Reading critically and attentively can give you the linguistic tools to share your own story with more precision

  • Erel Glenn Estopito
    Erel Glenn Estopito 9 days ago

    Am I the only one who thinks John Green is a faster talker than Eminem rapping...

  • eradicatedsoul
    eradicatedsoul 12 days ago

    Be my teacher, John 😭

    BS THINGS 13 days ago

    i do matter, and you are rude :(

  • That Moment
    That Moment 13 days ago

    fake, the chair disapeard

  • StarManAevum
    StarManAevum 16 days ago

    The worst thing about having an undergrad in English is having to explain the use of it in a manner that appeals to capitalism.

  • W.C. Baggett
    W.C. Baggett 17 days ago

    I love ya man, but simmer down. Too fast. Slow your roll.

  • Ban in Space
    Ban in Space 20 days ago

    I like paper towns

  • Hani Qamaliah
    Hani Qamaliah 23 days ago +1

    I now regret studying engineering instead of pursuing literature

  • Holly M.
    Holly M. 23 days ago

    I love you John Green!!!!!

  • kys capio
    kys capio 25 days ago

    this isnt fortnite

  • Alena Kirillova
    Alena Kirillova 27 days ago

    ooooh, he is so excited^

  • EverythingIC
    EverythingIC 29 days ago

    1:10 Cleary John Green was also Danny Fenton's principle

    FINDY EM Month ago

    Whovian's HEY TO YOU, MR GREEN..

  • Joseph Watson
    Joseph Watson Month ago

    In the video, "How and Why We Read," John Green discusses why we read critically.
    List two reasons why he suggests we should read critically.

  • Phantom Black
    Phantom Black Month ago

    I love the Gallifreyan though

  • Do not disturb the sound of silence

    Jesus man, take it easy...
    I can t watch you for a long time because you make me nervous.

  • Oma Rumunna
    Oma Rumunna Month ago

    10th time watching this.

  • hippiehoni
    hippiehoni Month ago

    So are there any fine nerds out there who can translate the Gallifreyan on the board?

  • ahmed eissa
    ahmed eissa Month ago

    scarlet letter maybe

  • Capple
    Capple Month ago

    Is anyone watching this for the green brothers only? Just me?

  • Ailema Gonzalez
    Ailema Gonzalez Month ago

    i enjoy talking but its been boring silence

  • Jamie Bertram
    Jamie Bertram Month ago

    Is there a better way to learn about literature than having John Green shout it at you?

  • Jamie Bertram
    Jamie Bertram Month ago

    Is there a better way to learn about literature than having John Green shout it at you?

  • Tanya Jordening
    Tanya Jordening Month ago

    John Green is incredible. Your videos always crack me up and teach me at the same time. Keep up the GREAT work!

  • aishwarya kangutkar

    I like how he said bad vampire fiction and we all understood what he was talking about.

  • VeeTheFangirl
    VeeTheFangirl Month ago

    The links for the Reading List direct me to a website that offers Social Media Packages; followers, likes, subs, etc. I just want the material for the course..

  • BookLover
    BookLover Month ago

    When I clicked this link in my college course assignments, I was not expecting John Green to pop up. Finally, a teacher who understands that watching videos with monotone voices and deadpan faces is not good for learning anything except for how to fall asleep in 2 minutes or less.

  • Sean Kim
    Sean Kim Month ago

    So tired of that mofuckin jerk looking idiots takin about books

    CEG GHD 2 months ago

    Is this the same person that did philosophy course ?

  • RaritySpiritAnimal
    RaritySpiritAnimal 2 months ago

    What the Fitzgerald did you just say to me you little piece of Shakespeare???? You little Dickens?????????

  • Sarwat Sharif
    Sarwat Sharif 2 months ago

    Can you please develop a crash course on great expectations by Charles Dickens? It will help understand the plot better

    • Brian Hutzell
      Brian Hutzell 2 months ago

      A whole series on Dickens would be awesome!

  • cosimocub
    cosimocub 2 months ago

    what an annoying yank. i mean come on

  • Inspirations
    Inspirations 2 months ago

    wow...great teaching and inspiring talk!!

    • Ailema Gonzalez
      Ailema Gonzalez Month ago +1

      Inspirations color codes lite up yellow white and ☀

  • Spectrr
    Spectrr 2 months ago

    I hate reading

  • Nataleigha Huggett-DeVeny


  • Tones
    Tones 2 months ago

    Dislike because John green, and the fact that he doesn’t blink.

  • ApexCactus
    ApexCactus 2 months ago

    Hey! Shakespeare is the main course meal, and bad Vampire fiction is dessert, there's no shame in that xD

  • Thomas Burnett
    Thomas Burnett 3 months ago

    J’aime parler français aussi et I-ay ike-lay o-tay eak-spay ig-pay atin-lay wrong in order

  • spideken
    spideken 3 months ago

    my niece cry watching your videos..

  • spideken
    spideken 3 months ago +1

    your funny but your scary too.. now, I'm afraid if I read books I end up like you.. so therefore I stop reading :D ..

  • Puppy Pu
    Puppy Pu 3 months ago

    Would you do Wide Sargasso Sea please???

  • Mikhail Braude
    Mikhail Braude 3 months ago

    Reading List links got hijacked!

    • Marija Matic
      Marija Matic 3 months ago

      Have you found a solution? I can not open them.

  • Paul Andre Uy
    Paul Andre Uy 3 months ago

    “It's just that I learned a while ago that the best way to get people to like you is not to like them too much.”
    ― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

  • Anselma Reich
    Anselma Reich 3 months ago

    Bad vampire fiction ... I see what you did there.

  • Danielle Detera
    Danielle Detera 3 months ago

    In a reading slump before. No longer after this video.

  • alyssa dela cruz
    alyssa dela cruz 3 months ago

    John Green is the adult version of Jimmy Neutron

  • Ned O'Brien
    Ned O'Brien 3 months ago

    what did the gallifrain say?

  • MJ Stitsey
    MJ Stitsey 3 months ago

    When he said and vampire fiction I immediately thought of Twilight

  • Aditya Kumar
    Aditya Kumar 3 months ago

    Could you please give a detailed explanation of the process of critical reading?
    What questions do I pose to the prose to get a deeper understanding of it ?
    I often find me disappointed with myself if I could not find the symbols that the people discuss and most of the time my interpretations are never popoularly accepted . How do I read in the right way ?😅

  • Ronja
    Ronja 3 months ago

    bad vampire fiction 😂😂

  • Laiba Khan
    Laiba Khan 4 months ago

    Though I'm no longer in highschool learning about English Literature nor I'm studying it in college. I would love to learn more about literature. The thing is my grammar is appalling for a 17 year old like me.

  • Maureen Seel
    Maureen Seel 4 months ago

    Hahaha! Gallifreyan in the background. That's great.

  • Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc
    Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc 4 months ago +1

    guys, i have something i don't in the video. What does John mean when he said: 'get these book to roll in'? What's a roll in? Thanks a lot

    • Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc
      Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc 2 months ago

      know i'm a little bit too late but thank you

    • Tati P
      Tati P 3 months ago

      Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc in other crash course videos, the stuff surrounding John's desk appears by rolling in at the beginning of the video. Similar to how John himself rolls in sitting on his chair.

  • Alexandra Gomez
    Alexandra Gomez 4 months ago

    Make a video about poems and how to understand them, please?

  • Jicky Cao
    Jicky Cao 4 months ago

    Cant believe some so many people watched a video about reading.

  • Joseph Babu
    Joseph Babu 4 months ago

    did he just transition from an open letter to authorial intent to an open letter to the reader?

  • ella n
    ella n 4 months ago

    It would be great if the CrashCourse team would make a course about art.

  • Mr Temporal
    Mr Temporal 4 months ago

    Here's another reason to read:
    You (can) have fun doing it

  • Phoenix Olivia
    Phoenix Olivia 4 months ago

    This is amazing! Would you considering doing some episodes on the Graphic Novel as literature? And perhaps do some critiques on a few like Watchmen, Sandman, Dark Knight Returns, Saga, Lazarus. These books are full of depth and commentary on the human condition and drama and is definitely literature. Literature and film all wrapped into one :-)

  • Laila Alkassabi
    Laila Alkassabi 4 months ago +1

    Hello 😍😍 I lovvvve crash course I even wish that it’s a Netflix series that I can binge watch ahaha ,,, I can’t seem to access the books ? Is the website still valid and working ? Thanks for your help

  • Rob Wisdom
    Rob Wisdom 4 months ago

    So, now they finally have a back catalogs about their show.. Is it worth watching?

  • FriendsoftheGerund
    FriendsoftheGerund 5 months ago

    Are you kin to Giuseppi Verdi?

  • Geffen Tzaban
    Geffen Tzaban 5 months ago

    Nerdwriter reference?

  • Michael Cole
    Michael Cole 5 months ago

    Please do Oliver twist!!!

  • crystal mccullum
    crystal mccullum 5 months ago +1

    How would you cite this video correctly, MLA style?

  • Françis Lee
    Françis Lee 5 months ago

    OMG how could he speak so fast

  • Home School24
    Home School24 5 months ago


  • Keenyn Moly
    Keenyn Moly 5 months ago

    Thank you for these hilarious and informative videos! This series helped me so much with passing the American Literature CLEP test! :)

  • S B
    S B 6 months ago

    Crash course is not designed for students with learning challenges who have difficulty understanding information due to the speed it's presented in. This man needs to slow down! Hard to learn when info is being presented that quickly. Not a good learning tool for so many students that need to learn this info.

  • Tori Angelilli
    Tori Angelilli 6 months ago

    I read Fault in our Stars and found out the author is on this channel

  • Tae the Bae
    Tae the Bae 6 months ago

    Does anybody know what that Gallifreyan says?

  • Matt Dubow
    Matt Dubow 6 months ago

    First open letter against authorial intent? I'm so down

  • Sukanya Dev
    Sukanya Dev 6 months ago

    I love the way how John Green is dissing his ex-girlfriend through this video.

  • Lucas Hayton
    Lucas Hayton 6 months ago +1

    don'y really like this one

  • A.R Meyer
    A.R Meyer 6 months ago +1

    My literature teacher told us to come here. I now understand why and that literature goes beyond being entertained by a book or for the sake of pleasure. I now see reading is a 'tool' that will help us in our lives, experiences, feelings (good or bad ones but still feelings) and so much more but it would be a very long list. Greetings from Argentina.

  • A.R Meyer
    A.R Meyer 6 months ago

    Amazing what you do John; make us reflect on why we need to read. It's just great what you offer us :)

  • Rachel Norton
    Rachel Norton 6 months ago

    The fangirl inside of me was screeching the whole time because of the circular gallifreyan

  • Lalitha Naraparaju
    Lalitha Naraparaju 6 months ago

    I wanna translate what you wrote in Gallifreyan on your chalkboard.

  • Alimo Eskimo
    Alimo Eskimo 6 months ago


    NATSU DRAGNEEL 6 months ago

    this is like trying to read and understand the worlds most complex poetry in a diffrent language that you dont know
    did not dislike though

  • Bryan McCormick
    Bryan McCormick 6 months ago

    i still believe in treasure hunting though

  • Gadisa Mohammed
    Gadisa Mohammed 7 months ago

    2018 ??

  • Robert Simon
    Robert Simon 7 months ago

    I once heard some one explain reading as a way that humans download software

  • Miner Mario
    Miner Mario 7 months ago

    "THE AUTHOR DOES NOT MATTER. all that matters is that the book is there!" yu sure john the author is extremely important for the book (MAYBE) might not have existed WITHOUT them, take this as an example: JK Rowling could not have made that book(harry potter) if not for her creative personality same goes for Rick Riordan. (Every mythical book that he made)
    Take Homer the mysterious author that nobody knows for sure who he really is. Well he was SUPER CREATIVE, more creative than rick and jk combined. these types of writers 3 examples of really amazing creative ONE OF A KIND work especially homer, who made everyones mind BLOW who read the the Odyssey because not many people an make poetry and a story SO WELL to homers level. you must have been Einstein genius levels to make this story. im no Albert Einstein but still, this is what i think. cya.

  • David Howell
    David Howell 7 months ago

    What the Shakespeare!

  • alacarteno
    alacarteno 7 months ago

    love love love

  • nonnanevrotica
    nonnanevrotica 7 months ago

    Dear John, please do something on Faulkner.. I'm a Lit major and I don't get him at all.

  • mason wong
    mason wong 7 months ago

    You are the best john green

  • mason wong
    mason wong 7 months ago

    This is the best serives ever

  • Izzy Sumardi
    Izzy Sumardi 7 months ago

    When John doesn't call the video description section the doobly
    Doo😵 but seriously love this video

  • Arti Roy
    Arti Roy 7 months ago


  • Phuong Tran
    Phuong Tran 7 months ago

    Please start a discussion on Gone with the wind John???? 😁😁😁

  • thinking mike thinking mike

    Don't forget to be awesome 😀

  • Yvonne
    Yvonne 7 months ago

    God, how much I hate the word 'problematic'.

  • Александра Никифорова

    Hi, want to see the entire movie for this video clip. Well then search in Google as: "CineHub4U" to discover the whole film.