Thursday, May 13, 2010

An English Teacher's Favorite Books (if that is possible)

the impossible question
As a (former?) English teacher, I hear "What is your favorite book?" quite often! Um, that's sort of impossible for me. This Friday's "Show Us Your Life" poses that same question, so I'll try.

I'd love to hear about your favorite book. Maybe you could tell me a classic you love and then maybe something you're reading now. Ooh! And tell me of a book that was supposed to be good and turned out kind of blah.

My love for books I think started kind of young-right before high school. I read Kaye Gibbons every time she published something, starting with Ellen Foster. Then, once I became a freshman in high school, I spent a lot of time in the library after track practice waiting for my dad or mom to pick me up. After that, I went on to become an English major and teacher. I still read frequently on my own and try to keep up to date. My taste is, in my opinion, sophisticated.

I just don't waste time with fluffy or mushy books (for lack of a better word), and I wouldn't waste yours in suggesting these. So, here are some of my favorite books, in no particular order (because that would kill me).

  • Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Oh my goodness, this is UNBELIEVABLY GENIUS. He writes about the connection of generations from the 18th century to present. This witty, heartfelt, and creative novel/memoir/historical account made me stop every 25 pages or so just to digest. READ IT.

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. You've probably heard of The Kite Runner. Hosseini moved me with both of these novels, but if I had to pick one, I'd choose Suns. Wow! They aren't connected in any way, other than the fact that Suns picks up in Afghan history where Kite Runner left off (kind of). But, don't think this is just about Afghanistan. Hosseini is not trying to educate you about Afghan culture. He's simply (and really, it isn't so simple) telling a beautiful story about women, friendship, and grace. READ IT.

  • Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. I'm finishing his 3rd book now, and I am just dying to meet Mr. McCourt. I'm going to look him up because he lives right up near here in Connecticut. Once you read Angela's Ashes, the memoir of a young McCourt growing up in a 1930's and 40's impoverished Irish family, you will truly fall in love with his character and ability to find light, and sometimes humor, in tragic circumstances. He wants so badly to love his father but...READ IT.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I just love the story every time I read it. It is a fast read, and I'm just dying to know how all of the characters grew up. If you don't know anything about it-READ IT. Good grief, what are you waiting for?

  • Shakespeare's tragedies and histories. Yeah, I know you're groaning and probably rolling your eyes at me about this one. BUT, sit down when you can read a Shakespearean play in ONE SITTING so you'll get used to 'that language.' He's absolutely my favorite writer of all time, and there's a reason why he's so famous. To help you out, read a brief summary of the play before you read it-he intended for his audiences to already know the story line so that they could focus more on his interpretation. Try Othello or Hamlet. Then read Richard III. If you want, sit down with the play in one hand while you watch it on film. He allows the reader to weave in and out of a story and always, always, puts a spin on our everyday assumptions about life. Just give it a shot. Then tell me what you thought. Please?

  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Whoo! Get through the first 60 pages and then watch out! The whole book, I just kept looking at the cover and looking at the cover, imagining what this could be like. What an adventure!

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I read this 10 years ago when I was in California. This is for the nature lover and for those who appreciate Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman. The hero, Christopher McCandless, sure did.
Other great authors I like: crazy ol' William Faulkner, Dickens, Poe, David Sedaris, Kaye Gibbons, and more.

Recent flop book-The Art of Racing in the Rain. This was predictable and cheesy. Sorry, it was.

My next read-Crime and Punishment

Do you have a good book to recommend? Please share in my comments.

And hop on over to Kelly's Korner to read (ha) about more by clicking on the link below

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner


  1. Real quick, here are some good books that I have read recently.

    An adolescent book, but ABSOLUTELY amazing and creepy and awesome: The Hunger Games.

    Another great book (especially for you Southerners): South of Broad by Pat Conroy.

    A book that everyone seemed to love, but that I stopped reading because it was so dark and disturbing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    That's my two cents!

  2. Great list of books! I am going to have to check so of them out. Have a great week!

  3. i am reading into the wild right now, I can't believe you did, my husband thinks I am nuts.... for reading it. I am your newest follower. I am doing a huge post about it when I am done with it, the book that is.