Because I am an English professor, I’m often asked what my favorite book is. That’s actually a lot harder to answer than you think. I’ve read SO many books. Often, I don’t remember which is which. There are, however, a few that have really stuck with me.
- Night by Elie Wiesel. When I was in grad school, I did my student teaching at a middle school. I came into the classroom just before the 8th grade classes began their unit on the Holocaust. This particular school did a lot of interdepartmental teaching for the units. So, while they were studying the historical aspect of it in History class, they had to read about it in English class. Because they had to read Night, I had to teach it. Growing up, I had to read Anne Franks diary, and I didn’t like it. So, I assumed I wouldn’t like Night; well, I was wrong! While it was heart-breaking, there was a sort of hope that resonated throughout the whole thing that make you want to keep going. It’s inspirational!
- In sort of the same category (meaning one that I taught while student teaching; also inspiring) is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This novel is both a stunning and sympathetic tribute to teenaged life in the U.S. What this girl goes through is nothing short of devastating.
- Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. This piece is probably the most “clichéd” piece that I’ll choose, in that I’m pretty certain anyone who loves to read has read Tuesday’s with Morrie. Even so, it’s an amazing read that every one needs to read at least once in their adult life. It’s a reminder to all of us that life is only so long and that we’ve got to actually LIVE IT. Too often, we wallow in our own self-doubt and forget that there is a whole world out there; and, often, there are plenty of others going through worse than we are.
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This story, while absolutely terrifying also gives us hope. It’s a reminder that it’s NEVER too late for anything. This is the story of a gruesome murder, but with an ending that will inevitably make your head spin. If you can get passed the obvious difficulty of reading about a teenager being murdered, it’ll be worth it.
- Lastly is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This book, while also heart-wrenching, is absolutely fascinating. In a world where we all fear the dreaded Middle Easterner, it’s nice to read about one of the more inspirational tales to come out of Iraq and Iran. It’s also eye opening to those who know very little about the culture there.
That’s it, those are the must-reads (in my opinion). Read them if you’d like; but, if you do, make sure you let me know what you think.