Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Joy of Re-Reading

Since Charlotte, NC, has chosen To Kill a Mockingbird as their " Big Read" this year, I have enjoyed following all the related articles in the newspaper. In the last week or so, I ran across an article by Reading Life Editor Pam Kelley entitled " Big Read: Second Time Can Still Surprise." She not only examined the experiences of teachers who read over and over the novels they teach in their classroom but also young children who keep requesting the same book every night for bedtime stories.

I will readily admit that I read Go Dog, Go and One Fish, Two Fish so many times at the request of my own children that those books mysteriously disappeared, only to be found much later under the coffee table.

As a teacher, I tried to change up my curriculum enough to keep myself from becoming stale, but some books appeared year after year simply because I loved them: To Kill a Mockingbird will never lose its charm for me. I personally love teaching Charles Frasier's Cold Mountain. I love A Separate Peace so much that I could teach it again and again (although a remake of the movie is long overdue.) The Great Gatsby is another favorite of mine, as is Beloved and The Joy Luck Club.

Outside of classroom assignments, though, I am often reluctant to re-read a book, even a favorite simply because I know I could use the same time to read something new. I have made exceptions. If I had to play the "stuck on a deserted island" game, I could compile a list of old favorites I would want to have along. (Who'd want to take a chance on carrying books that only merit one read at best? I've seen Castaway. I know how long those hypothetical dilemmas can last.

My list, then, would include T. H. White's The Once and Future King, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Richard Adams' Watership Down, The Brontes' Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, Cervantes' Don Quixote, and Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca. Like all good book lists, though, I know that as soon as I click "Publish Post," I'll think of a dozen other titles I should not have forgotten. Fortunately, that's the fun of lists like these.

Given a little time to peruse my bookshelves and perhaps to look over a few good booklists, I'd probably add to the list. I would need something to make me laugh out loud, and some kind of island survival guide. Maybe if I'm lucky on my hypothetical island misadventure, I can share the time with someone with a different reading list altogether.


Unknown said...

I love To Kill a Mockingbird as well. I would add The Sound and the Fury to my list and A Raisin in the Sun.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Nancy, if you go to my blog, today's post, you will find the following.

I just received recognition from Vicki Lane in at in the form of a "Fabulous Blog Award" for Here, Where I Am.

I really appreciate this award from my friend Vicki and am paying it forward. Here are five picks -- some of the most frequent posters of the blogs I follow:

1. Living Above the Frost Line
2. Ruminations from the Distant Hills
3. Discriminating Reader
4. My Carolina Kitchen
5.Flint River Gallery Journal

The rules (not mine, they came with the award): You must pass it on to 5 other Fabulous Bloggers in a post. You may find their email addresses on their Profile page or, if not available, post as a "Comment" to their latest post.

You must include the person that gave you the award, and link it back to them. You must list 5 of your Fabulous addictions in the post.
You must copy and paste these rules in the post.
Right click the award icon(on my blog) & save to your computer then post with your own awards.To my way of thinking, this is not only a nice tribute, it widens the reading audience.

5 of my Fabulous Addictions: poetry, reading, landscape/environment, recipes, and visual art.

the Wilbecks said...

I think you had us read A Raisin in the Sun in your class... I still love it.