But the pick of the Hard Case lot is almost certainly The Comedy is Finished (2012), another unpublished Westlake novel that is even better than some of his oft-reprinted ones. In some ways, Comedy is yet another caper novel but set in the divided political world of ’60s America, when all the old lies about American exceptionalism were coming up hard against the ugly, CIA-sponsored geopolitical violence of Vietnam and Central America. (Contemporary United States, take note.) Out of all the several dozen Westlake novels I have read and enjoyed, Koo Davis is probably his greatest comic creation: a Bob Hope–like hack comic whose silly shtick of cornball USO shows and stand-up jokes about ditzy “flower children” starts to make him feel complicit in the American-Dream-turned-sour.
What if tests are scored to give more credit to the most unique, or least frequently mentioned correct answer? What if tests include items that ask for new applications of materials and concepts studied? What if tests ask for opposites of the the correct answer - the most wrong answer? What if tests are given more credit when reasons for the answer are well stated.
Students who cannot write good responses may be unaware of the what a good response looks like. What if the most creative responses are posted (with permission from the writers) for the rest of the class to read?
Nurturing and changing thinking habits is perhaps the most significant thing a teacher can do. Unfortunately, thinking habits that facilitate good transfer of learning may be slow to change and difficult to influence. Too often we fall into practices that give quick results, but nurture thinking that is narrowly specialized, depends on imitation, on rote, or on following specific instruction. Is this education or some sort of training?