3 Jan

I love literature. I can’t remember a time when I was NOT immersed in a book. As a young girl, I would sit sideways on a comfortable recliner in our living room, legs draped over the arm of the chair. There could be chaos around me – my siblings could be yelling, my dog could be barking, my mom could be vacuuming – but, for a moment, the book became my reality.

Though my literary tastes have inevitably changed as an adult, my passion for reading remains the same. I still savor the feeling of getting carried away by a good book. I love that, for a moment in time, I can exist in two places at once – my physical environment and the environment created by the author of the book I’m reading. I find myself getting very attached to characters – I feel a bittersweet sadness when I finish a good book because I must now say goodbye to a friend.

My reading habits can best be described as … well … eclectic. My friends and family members find it difficult to purchase books for me as gifts because my taste seems to lack a unifying theme. My “a la carte” appetite for books has left embarassing gaps in my literary diet. Therefore, I have decided to participate in my first reading challenge: Dana Huff’s “Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn’t” Challenge. (This challenge is especially enticing as I am an 8th grade Language Arts teacher.) I am a long-time reader of Ms. Huff’s blogs and am looking forward to connecting with other participants in this challenge. I would love to commit to the Literature Professor level of the challenge; however, my life stays very busy with a full-time teaching job and adorable four-month-old son. Therefore, I am committing to the College Graduate level which involves reading 4 books I think I should have read in school. The following is a list of possible selections for this challenge:

  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – I am ashamed to admit I have not read this novel! When my classmates were commiserating with Holden Caufield’s adolescent angst, I was immersed in books like Uncle Tom’s Cabin … yes, I was an anomale among high-schoolers. It’s definitely time for me to read this book! (I feel like the literary police will arrest me for this confession!)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Another embarassing confession … I have never read anything by John Steinbeck.
  • Ernest Hemingway – I tried reading For Whom the Bell Tolls several years ago but didn’t finish. I think it’s time for me to give Hemingway another chance. Any suggestions on which book would be a good introduction to Hemingway?
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – This is another book I tried to read years ago, but I think I was too young to appreciate the novel. I am a fan of Emily Bronte, so I think I will give her sister’s work a try as well.

You can join the challenge at Dana Huff’s book blog, Much Madness is Divinest Sense.

On a side note, I think it would be interesting to participate in a challenge that involves re-reading old favorites. For example, I loved The Great Gatsby in high school, but I think I would have a new, deeper appreciation for the novel as an adult. Perhaps this is an idea for next year?


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