Sunday, September 12, 2010

Books of Obligation

A man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. ---Mark Twain

I have a teeny tiny confession to make. I have never read The Scarlett Letter. Nor have I read The Catcher in the Rye, The Outsiders, or O Pioneers!. I hated The Pearl as well as Great Expectations, and I've tried to read Catch-22 so many times that I'm sure I have a record going somewhere. And I'm supposed to be teaching English to the young minds of tomorrow?

I've often felt guilty and underqualified because I have not read "the list" of books that are being taught in our schools. I wish I could change it all. Because I think that there are plenty of books out there that are just as good (if not better, but I can't say for sure, considering I've never read them) as those books I've listed above. I love to read, but I don't want to waste my time reading books I don't like. Those books are books I've filed under the "get to eventually out of obligation" pile. Can't we give teachers a chance to incorporate books they enjoy too? In practicum, we are reading the same short stories that I read as a sophomore. I can tell my junior and freshman siblings exactly what they will read in their English classes at my high school, because it hasn't changed.

Also, where is the time? If I'm supposed to be reading professional development books, the books my students are reading, and young adult literature to recommend to my students, how do I stretch my day to at least 30 hours? I suppose this is something that teachers figure out with time. Or I cram it all in to June, July, and August. Do books on tape count for anything?

For now, I suppose, I should stop whining and order myself a copy of A Separate Peace. Maybe I will get to it by May. I have a stack of obligatory books on my nightstand already.

Books I'd like to include in my classroom some day:
1. The Color Purple
2. The Things They Carried
3. Bastard Out of Carolina
4. Me Talk Pretty One Day
5. Stone Butch Blues
6. Atonement
7. Angela's Ashes
8. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
9. The Great Divorce
10. The Namesake

1 comment:

  1. love the blog. and the background. and the list above. i feel like that too, about a lot of books. i did love the pearl, but haven't read catch-22 or animal farm, or many many many others i should have read.

    it's really interesting to try to decide what's important because there is a difference between the academic world, high school, and middle school. and all those ed books you were talking about. balance is a quest i think, and by definition, a quest takes a long time! :)