Current/Recent Reading List

10 November 2006

Bring on the Cussin'

After it took us nearly a month (off and on) to complete Oedipus Rex in my general English class, I found myself wanting our next reading to be in a completely different vein. You see, unlike some English teachers, I am bullheaded enough to make even the general kids read the real text, and not some watered-down encapsulation of it (which all the textbook companies un-helpfully, and temptingly, supply). I would not apply my resolve to kids in special needs classes, I'm sure, but then I don't teach those classes, so the point is moot.

Still, I believe we need to tackle something more easily accessible to this class, and since our new textbook company has yet to deliver 75% of the free paperback novels we ordered, I began a scavenger hunt to see what we still had on hand that might work (having thrown away most of our old, ratty editions in anticipation of these non-existent new ones). I wanted to do To Kill a Mockingbird , but the best I could come up with that seemed a good match was Of Mice and Men. I'm not a big Steinbeck fan, but of all his work, OMAM always resonated best with me. And, the kids immediately came alive yesterday when we started and got to the cuss words: bastard, son of a bitch, damn, and God damn. What tenth grader wouldn't love it?

If you want a nice clue as to how old these particular editions are, then check out this back-cover blurb:

"Travelling across America in search of who you are - now they do it on cycles, in cars, by bus or in the time-honored tradition of foot and thumb. The wanderers of today may wear their hair long and speak a different jargon, but their trip is one that men (and women) have taken for as long as this country has been pushing at its frontiers."

When I die, I'll have a great many things to answer for. But at least one of them won't be having written that.

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