Monday, January 5, 2009

shattering books american style that need teachin

Warning: if you don't like to read books than this post will be very drab for you.
PS if you don't like to read why are you reading this blog at all?

Disregard the last post. I'm not bored. I could spend every single second from now until the moment I board the plane for Chile sifting through ever bookstore in New England for the best novels to teach at New River. I clearly remember which books I resented being made to read in high school and college (any book about men on hunting trips in Africa, Shakespeare AGAIN)...but are so SO many good ones. How on earth do I choose....All I know is my class is going to read spectacular, relevant, edgy stuff that usually go untaught for one reason or another.

Mark Helprin: Soldier of the Great War, Memoir from Antproof Case, A winter's Tale. Although we disagree politically he's got to be the best writer in the world. Also, he hallucinates as he writes.

Edward Abbey: The Monkey Wrench Gang, Brave Cowboy, Down the River, Dessert Solitaire, One Life at a Time, Please, Rock Salt and Cherry Pie. How can you teach an American Lit class without him?

Sherman Alexie: ANYTHING. He will be taught.

Barbara Kingsolver: Animal Dreams, The Poisonwood Bible. She's one of the best authors America has produced, and she is from Kentucky, and writes a lot about the South East where we'll be spending part of our Spring semester.

Octavia Butler: Earth Seed. Although it may be too disturbingly accurate to teach, I had nightmares my entire junior year of college because of this book. But it's a Seattle Author...

David Guterson: Snow falling on Cedars.

Tony Morrison: Jazz, Song of Solomon, Beloved. Jazz is my favorite book ever written, but I've read it 18 times and still don't know what the F is going on.

Ginsberg, Kerouac, Kesey, and all the other beat poets: I've always wanted to be the kind of person who likes On The Road and Howl, but I never really have. I think I'm too much of a wimp. Beat poets are so much cooler than me or anyone I've ever known....I have to include them somehow. I read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in a high school sophomore journalism was thrilling to be reading a book about acid trips in high school but it seemed to be lacking a plot.

Ray Bradbury: Any of his short stories, Fahrenheit 451. The Bush administration made this book even more relevant. (Peace out on the 20th, suckers!)

A Clockwork Orange: Never read it but I associate it with Pink Floyd's The Wall. Why do I do that? Does anyone recommend this one?

Jonathon Safron Foer: Everything is Illuminated- could I possibly get away with teaching this, I don't think so, but I still must include it on this list of worthwhile books. His second book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, is I think about 911. I haven't read it, but that may be a good option...

If anyone has any recommendations or anything let me know....soon. Book list was due 6 hours ago.

What American Authors have you read that needs to be taught? Do you advise me against any of these books I've mentioned? Give me any advice you have, and soon....the book list was due 6 hours ago.



Ali said...

A Confederacy of Dunces

grunder said...

I know everybody is forced to read it, but truthfully Grapes of Wrath is the best book I've ever read.

Also, no Hemmingway?

Melina said...

I'm not into Hemmingway, never have been. I think I might go with the Grapes of Wrath. Although I've never read it.