Ten things I have purchased as a result of spending time with my geeky English teacher colleagues
1. Broken Vessels by Andre Dubus. This is a collection of essays, several of which formed the launching point of our adventure. The book is out of print, but Amazon has some good, used copies, and I got myself one for something like six bucks with shipping.
2. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. This isn’t my favorite Will story, but one of the writing group spoke incredibly high of it and, since Romeo and Juliet isn’t one of her favorites, either, I took her word for it.
3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Everyone I spoke to – and even a few people who overheard those conversations – piped in to tell me how much they love this book. I am eagerly anticipating its arrival and am taking my time getting through my current read (The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, in case you were wondering) so that I can dive right into it when it finally gets here.
4 & 5. This Boy’s Life. I’m counting this one twice because I purchased both the film and the memoir. I may figure a way to work it in to next term’s curriculum, but I haven’t had any experience with the story at all, so I’ll have to wait for its arrival from Amazon before I make any decisions.
6. Hamlet. I’m almost sure that the arrival of this DVD (it came today) pushes Hamlet into the top spot for films for which I have the most interpretations. Now that this is part of my collection, I have 4: this one (duh), Mel Gibson’s version, the play as imagined by Kenneth Branaugh, and the most recent (that I’m aware of) production of it which stars David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. I’ve got the Olivier version on my wishlist…
7. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatie. This book wasn’t so much recommended directly as I overheard someone talk about teaching it (and, just as an aside, that picture of all the words on the board that I posted on the first night? Those were all words that students associated with the novel). Knowing that was enough for me to pick it up today, along with the next three books (and several more besides) on my trip this morning to my favorite used bookstore.
8. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. As a scholar of the Shoah, I was told that I “had” to read this. I’ve been led to believe that it will inspire a great many fruitful conversations in my classroom about morality and justice, and that, even if I choose not to read this with a group of students, I will find it well worth my time to read alone.
9. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. This is another book – this time, a memoir – that I had heard good things about before coming to the writing workshop, and had the claims reinforced by my friends and colleagues. I think this might end up near the bottom of my “must-read” pile, though, because I don’t see it being useful to my curriculum this year.
10. The Hours by Michael Cunningham. I have to admit that I didn’t love this film. I saw it while visiting with Kizz, and I don’t know whether I just wasn’t in the right space for it, or if I was fatigued from the trip and all the excitement that came with it, but I remember not being overly impressed with the movie. During a dinner at which a bunch of us were talking about books-to-movies (as I’m getting ready to teach a film and lit. class at CHS – go here to see a first draft of my syllabus for that class), someone said she didn’t love the movie, but the book moved her – and then someone said she didn’t love the book, but was captured by the film. I figured, what the hell; I’ll pick up the book for 3 bucks and see where I fall on that continuum.
Auntie’s coming to visit in a bit; we’re going to go to the outlets to seek out nice (cool) wedding attire. Have a lovely (cool) Tuesday, Everyone!