Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Booker Award
For me, the merit of a book depends on how long it stays with me. For example, when I read a book, I give it all of my attention; however, a good book will suck me in and not let go--even if it has been years since I read it. Jeff had asked me to recall the books I read recently that I insisted he read at a future date. I remember telling him that, but I don't remember the books. So even though the books were good, it did not have any lasting impact on me. In essence, I have to look at how a book makes me think outside my comfort zone, forces me to view other realities, challenges my own ideals, and all around makes a difference in my life. I would also be remiss not to mention that I am a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. I look for substance in the books that will stimulate deep and thoughtful discussions with my students.
That being said, I had a difficult time narrowing my choices down to just five (well actually, I took some liberties and made two sets of trilogies into just "2 books"--forgive me, I just couldn't pick one without the others.) So, after having slept on it, this is what I have come up with!
1. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. This book centers around a family, The Tucks, who accidently discovered a fountain of youth and the ramifications of never being able to die. Prior to reading this book, I pose the question to my students: "Who would like to be able to live forever?" The answer I receive more times than not is "yes". It is interesting to see that idea challenged as the read the book.
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry. This book focuses on a Dystopian or possibly Utopian (you will have to be the judge) society where rules are of the utmost important and adhered to in order to maintain order in this community. Everything on the surface of this community looks perfect. This has been a tremendous book to share with my students. For example, a society without pain? That sounds fantastic, right? Hmmmm....makes one think a bit deeper about that...hopefully a reader will come away with a sense of the necessities of hardship and pain in order to promote healthy growth.
3. Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness: book 1: The Knife of Never Letting Go, book 2: The Ask and the Answer, book 3: Monsters of Men. This is probably one of the most unusual series I've ever had the pleasure to read. Instantly, I was hooked. Patrick Ness has invented this Dystopian society where people can hear your every thought--at least the thoughts of the men. Women's thoughts, however, are never heard. The way Patrick Ness shows us the struggle of these men is beyond description. You are, without a doubt, pulled into these novels, and its grip far-reaching and long-lasting--I still remember them in such vivid detail.
4. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman: book 1: The Golden Compass, book 2:The Subtle Knife, book 3: The Amber Spyglass. The first book takes place in an alternate reality (maybe even a parallel universe to ours). People have daemons which are physical manifestation of their souls that are part of them. (Note to parents: I didn't understand the heart wrenching pain that people went through when their daemons were taken away from them until I became a parent and I had to leave my first born with a sitter while I went back to work.) Now, if you've seen the Golden Compass movie--I'm sorry--that was a horrible depiction of the book. They had such a wonderful opportunity to create a masterpiece, but failed miserably! So put all of your thoughts about the movie away, and enjoy the book.
5. And my all time favorite book, without a doubt is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In my opinion, there has never been a book that has explored society with such depth that I walked away from it feeling exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. The emotional, intellectual, and moral themes are so abundant in this book that scholars have spent years researching it. I have read it at least seven times, and I come away with something new EVERY time! What I really love about it is sharing this with my students. So many of them have come away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of life back in the 30s, that it has contributed greatly to their knowledge of the depression, oppression, racism, and humanity in general. This book has often been one that my students remember vividly in the passing years.
So there you have it! My five most favorite of all time. And now it's time to pass the torch. Here are the five people I have chosen to pass this award to:
1. Jen Vincent and Kellee Moye at Teach Mentor Texts
2. Roz and Patty at http://roz-patty.com/
3. Lindsey Mead at http://www.adesignsovast.com/
4. Kathryn Markolf at http://goodliferoad.com/
5. Susan Buchanan http://susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/
Please do not feel obligated to do this--only participate if you have time and inspiration to...this is just for fun! Enjoy!