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The satori moment...Share the moment when you were awestruck by literature. The...

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 5:43 AM via web

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The satori moment...

Share the moment when you were awestruck by literature. The wonderful flash of sudden awareness is so addicting. Sadly, the irony of teaching english limits time for reading new things.

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 5:50 AM (Answer #2)

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There is a moment early in As I Lay Dying where Dewey Dell rationalizes her responsibility away in a careless decision to have sex... resulting in an unwanted pregnancy.

Faulkner portrays this uneducated, simple girl as having a limitless capacity for creativity in justifying selfish behavior. It is revolting, alluring and frightening. The first time I read it I couldn't talk it hit me so hard.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 1:04 PM (Answer #3)

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I love this topic, Jeff!  I have been a book-lover since I was a little kid...the "Little House" books really sucked me in, as well as the Narnia books and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm."

I think what really hooked me hard, though, was receiving a copy of "A Tale of Two Cities" for Christmas when I was in the 6th grade.  I know there are those of you who are going to laugh hysterically when they read this part, but it was all of the words...so many words...and the fact that I could get sucked into such a huge book for such a long period of time...but ultimately, it was the theme of sacrifice in that book that got me.  The sacrifices Lucy makes to care for her father, and then later, to stand outside on the corner each day so her husband can see her through his prison bars.  Then, of course, the ultimate sacrifice Sydney makes.  And, too, it's the language that begins the book - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." - my first experience with antithesis - as well as Sydney's final words: "It's a far, far better thing I do..."

I still am moved to tears, just thinking of those words.

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 1:21 PM (Answer #4)

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The start of my addiction began way before I was out of diapers when my dad would administer his nightly reading of "A Monster at the End of This Book."  My poor dad must have read that book to my twin brother and I almost every night for five years straight.  (I'm sure he spent plenty of time with my younger siblings reading it also!)  My dad made that book so much fun, it was impossible to not enjoy reading. 

As far as my own reading (no surprise here!), it was the Matt Christopher series I read constantly in elementary.  If books could contain sports stories, they must be ok!

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted February 15, 2008 at 2:47 PM (Answer #5)

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Roald Dahl. I can't actually remember what book it was, either Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach. I was 8, and I was hooked! Now I read novels pretty much every night.

The last book which really blew my mind was "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy.

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 15, 2008 at 2:48 PM (Answer #6)

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For me, it was the first sentence of Love in the Time of Cholera:

It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 6:30 PM (Answer #7)

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Katherine, by Anya Seton, started my love affair with English royalty. It's about a famous love affair: between Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt. It struck me how this man, who only history lovers know of, sired many of the royal lines of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Through his first wife, Blanche, he was father of Henry IV, grandfather of Henry V, and great-grandfather. Their daughter Philippa married John I of Portugal,

With his daughter by his second wife, Constance of Castile, he was great-grandfather of Isabel of Castile and great-great of Mary Tudor (two ways)

With his third wife, the Katherine of the title, he fathered the Beaufort family; he started an affair with her while he was married to Blanche. Margaret Beaufort married Owen Tudor, and that started the Tudor dynasty.

He was even Chaucer's brother-in-law because Chaucer was married to Katherine's sister.

Talk about dynasties! Victoria can't hold a candle!

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 15, 2008 at 10:09 PM (Answer #8)

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I cannot remember a time when I  didn't read.  My mother loves to tell the story of me when I was two, very verbal, and requesting to the amusement of the librarians, specific books.  I guess my first love was Beatrix Potter, "The Tale of Two Bad Mice." 

As a teen, my loves were Judy Blume and Madeline L'Engle. 

As a young adult, Hemingway.  Later, Steinbeck. 

My first real job was in a bookstore, which my mother equated to "putting an alcoholic in charge of a bar."  I never had a paycheck....all the books I got were docked against my pay.

One of my favorite "ice breaker' questions to ask on the first day of class is , "What was your favorite book as a child?"  I have never, ever, had anyone who could not (or would not) answer this question.  The way their eyes light up when telling others what book was special to them is priceless.  I try to mold that early love and enthusiam however I can. 

 

 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 16, 2008 at 6:40 PM (Answer #9)

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James and the Giant Peach...all day on a Saturday...I was seven.  I read the whole book in one sitting, and from then on, I have been stalking Barnes and Noble.  I love everything paper and ink!  The smell of a new book is exciting...Of course, it helps to have had excellent English teachers.  One I will never forget is my Survey of Lit professor at Georgetown College.  Her name was Rosemary Allen, and she was SO COOL.  When she read poetry to us, I cried.  She was so inspiring, and I attempt to be like that in my classes for my students.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 9:59 AM (Answer #10)

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Oh, my goodness...Jamie, if your plan to have an eNotes editor conference comes to fruition, can you imagine how wonderful it's going to be to get all of these lit geeks together in one place?????  By the way, I use the phrase "lit geeks" with an excessive amount of pride and pleasure in being able to lump myself in with all of you! :)

We should have a time at the conference when we can all bring something that we LOVE...something that inspired us to read more or learn more...and read it aloud for each other.  I promise not to bore everyone with too much Dickens, but I might go over the top with "Henry V"! :)

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 2:52 PM (Answer #11)

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Like Jamie, I can't remember a time when I didn't read.  When I was a little girl, I loved any book about horses.  As I got older, I fell in love with Christy and Julie by Catherine Marshall, and, believe it or not, the short stories we would read in the textbooks at school.  I would spend my free time reading the ones we never got to read in class.  I think that officially makes me a 'lit geek'. 

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 2:58 PM (Answer #12)

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LGU! (Lit Geeks Unite!) :)

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 8:50 PM (Answer #13)

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I liked Runaway Ralph myself. The Bible scared me nicely. But I had a renagade Freshman English teacher, Mr. Dwyer that taught us Catcher in the Rye. I guess I really liked the frankness of Holden. Now, when I teach it... let's just say I feel much more different about him. I think that makes the literature fairly strong. 

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 9:46 PM (Answer #14)

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I liked Runaway Ralph myself. The Bible scared me nicely. But I had a renagade Freshman English teacher, Mr. Dwyer that taught us Catcher in the Rye. I guess I really liked the frankness of Holden. Now, when I teach it... let's just say I feel much more different about him. I think that makes the literature fairly strong. 

Jeff, you don't know how happy I was to read you say you like Catcher also...I was beginning to think my lit credentials were under duress because I enjoy that novel!

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 10:42 PM (Answer #15)

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I loved Catcher, but it was not Catcher that started my love of reading. I don't even know if I can pinpoint it.

I used to love Where the Wild Things Are when my dad would read it. I would get so scared when he would turn the lights out in my room and I lovedthe exhilarated feeling I got from being scared of a book! I remember giggling from the fear, tucking my head down under the covers waiting for the transformation of my bedroom.

I loved it when I read The Cay in 4th grade and my teacher brought in lobster (langosta) and chocolate and coconut and biscuits in with "rain water" and we would feast as we read about Timothy and Phillip being stranded on the island. It brought the story to life!

I adored my 6th grade teacher for lending me a copy of a Mary Higgins Clark book, All Around the Townto read for fun- "outside school" she told me. I thought it was awesome that she thought I was old enough to read a book that was so adult. She would probably get fired for a move like that these days, but she taught me to push my mind to read things that were just out of reach and I will forever be thankful for her gesture. Even though it wasn't a piece of classical literature or the great American novel, I will never forget it because I began looking beyond the young adult section that year. I had the confidence to pick from anything in the store! :)

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 11:30 PM (Answer #16)

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I've already posted what my inspiration was. How many of us became readers "against the odds"? My extended family does not value education much; weird that I became a teacher. Out of about 30 cousins, only 4 of us finished high school. My sister and I are the only ones who went to college. I can remember always feeling weird because I knew things that my cousins didn't. Many of them wouldn't play with me because they said I talked different! I guess books became my best playmates.

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