This new experiment dictated my library loot for this week. I checked out the following three audiobooks - Old Man and the Sea - Walk Two Moons - The Hobbit. I am fairly familiar with all storylines, so I am hoping that the narration allows me to catch subtleties that I may have missed.
The other topic I wish to revisit is where I receive inspiration for books to read. This week I have learned that my students can greatly inspire me. I think I have shared that I am a very clear cut - realistic - pragmatic person. I have a difficult time with romance novels and I especially have a difficult time relating to fantasy / science fiction (I have only just now grown to enjoy the Hobbit and that is after teaching the book for 4 years). Over Christmas break I asked all my students to read one book of their own choosing (I know .... what a mean teacher to ask students to read over their vacation) and then come to class prepared to give a 3-4 minute book review. The only caveat was that the book review had to be positive and persuade the audience to want to read the book.
Ok, so suffice it to say that many of the junior high girls selected the Twilight series books (and I refused to have a book repeated - so I heard reports for all 4 books in the series), I was amazed at the number of fantasy books that were chosen. I listened to the reports, but to be honest, I was not at all persuaded to go out and begin reading them (this was really not due to the student's review, but my own personal issues). EXCEPT..... I had two 7th grade students give amazing book reviews that truly have inspired me to give this genre another try (although probably not for a while due to other time commitments). One student read the Fellowship of the Ring at the beginning of break and was so taken with the series that he chose to read The Two Towers as well. His presentation consisted of drawing a map on the board and illustrating the journey. While most of us were very confused --- we were also very intrigued.
The other 7th grade student read Madeleine L'Engle's a Wrinkle in Time and again, was so taken by the first book that she voluntarily read the 2nd book in the series as well. Once again, the audience was rather confused at the character names, but this student was so enthusiastic for the story and author's writing style that I absolutely must attempt to read these books soon.
Finally, a last source of inspiration is the internet and a number of email loops to which I have subscribed (mostly AP English groups). This past week a question that was posed to the loop - and I would like to ask here (in the hopes of receiving further inspiration) is this: do you ever pair a classic with a modern/contemporary piece of fiction --- and if so, what pairings would you suggest? One of the ideas that I have heard is to pair Pride and Prejudice with Bridget Jones' Diary - so when I saw the latter book for sale yesterday for a dollar, I simply had to pick it up. Are there other great pairings that would work?