Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finding Unique, Interesting, and Engaging Books for High School Students

I love reading. I love reading so much that when I am not teaching, I can read about 250 books a year. I love the depth, complexity, and the feeling of complete oneness with the characters and setting of the book. I have a lot of "favorite" books and books that I breathe deeply after reading and sigh, "Wow that was amazing."

But there only a couple books I feel are engaging enough for young, unmotivated readers who feel like reading is only a necessary evil instead of a great way to transport themselves into a new dimension. I like to find books that are a great read and provide entertainment with the opportunity for fun questions and discussions without a ton of difficult literary analysis or classical themes.

Here are some of my favorite books to teach in the upper division grades:

But, now I am on the hunt for some other amazing books to add to my collection. I have purchased In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. Are there any other books that I absolutely MUST read this summer or include in my curriculum? I have a pretty easy going Curriculum advisor and I write all of my own literature guides for the books I read, so I can pretty much do anything and go anywhere with the upper division. The only requirement, really, are books that will capture their attention and make them want to continue to read.

So, Secondary English teachers- what say you??

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