I am teaching many books this year that I have not taught before, at least to a whole class. For instance, I taught The Book Thief to the whole class where it has previously only been used in literature circles. Another new book for me was The Joy Luck Club. I was concerned about that one, but the students enjoyed it. Finally, I taught Three Cups of Tea this year and my students participated in Pennies for Peace. I will teach mostly the same books next year, but I am moving The Joy Luck Club to summer reading.
I'm going to be teaching A Streetcar Named Desire for the first time this year. I've read it many times, but I've never had an exclusively American Lit teaching assignment until now. I know kids generally really like this play, so I'm hoping it works well.
I plan on teaching my 9th Graders the novel, LOVELY BONES. I read it over the summer upon suggestion of a colleague and feel that it will be a great book for my students.
My district has completely overhauled the required reading list for 9-12 this year. We've done away with some of the older books that were not being read and added some more modern novels, such as The Road, Speak, The Lovely Bones, No Country for Old Men, and others. I'm very excited about having The Road on the list. I'm planning to use it in my 10th grade honors class as part of a unit on anarchy. It fits in nicely with Antigone and The Lord of the Flies. I also plan to use Speak in my 9th grade English class.
I LOVE Reading Lolita, but my students really hated it! I tried it two years in a row, but was unsuccessful. I will revisit in a few years though and try again! It's such a great book with such a wonderful message!! Good luck!
I am about to start Reading Lolita in Tehran. I know next to nothing about this book as yet, but the title intrigues me. (I don't want to read about it before I read it.) If it proves to be a good and appropriate choice for the classroom, it would certainly be timely, considering the dramatic events coming out of Iran, even today. I'm hoping it will turn out to be a modern gem.
I'm going to try "The Book Thief" (Zusak). I find the premise of the book very interesting, including using death as a narrator, but not the death we might expect. Also, his use of language is extraordinary, and I hope students will see what can be done with vivid, clear images. I have had success with "In the Lake of the Woods," and I think a large part of that is the unusual technique that O'Brien uses. Doing these books back to back should provide students with and interesting and unique perception of what fiction can be.
This is a great question. I am teaching 9th grade English this year, and I was thinking about teaching "The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky."
This book would be great for your average 9th grader who doesn't like to read. I can see this book being really popular with the students.
As an historian I understand that literature has the potential to offer insight into the realities of the past, the present, and the future of the human experience. Inheriet The Wind in post #2 and Brave New World in post #3 are perfect examples of the potential power that literature can have in our society. Although I teach American History, I always infuse the literature of the period in order to create the larger picture. I believe this approach lends itself to a more collaborative educational experience. The students will get the best of both worlds.... the literature... and the history behind the literature. For example, I taught 'The Social History of the 1920's' this past spring. I attribute the success of the class to the combination of the history combined with F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. There is no doubt in my mind that my students gained a great deal of insight into the literary mind of Fitzgerald. As a result they also understood the social, cultural and political realities people sometimes felt. If English and History departments collaborate their goals the results could be extraordinary.
I am going to teach Brave New World for the first time this year. It is a work which I have always wanted to teach, and our department has finally purchased enough copies for me to use for my classes. I'm very excited about this prospect because another teacher with a smaller class taught the novel last year, and it was immensely successful with her regular level seniors (not honors or AP students). They see the relevance of the novel to today's society.
Inherit the Wind will be a new book that I am going to be teaching year. I am fairly excited about it, but I think where it's going to be really compelling is that I will be reading a part in class with the kids acting as specific parts and then having the kids read an equal amount at home. This will probably result in having the book done in a week or so, which is great time for a relevant and meaningful work.
I am so jealous of the post about how your district did a complete overhaul of the older books...while some older books are indeed classics, there are so many newer books that are worth studying. My school requires that we teach A Christmas Carol for 10th grade and I hate teaching it! Oh well.
However, I'm going to be teaching AP English Language and Comp this year, so for summer reading we assigned Into The Wild which is relatively new, so I'm happy for that. I'm also excited to be teaching One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for that class, which yes, is old, but is also awesome.