Saturday, March 8, 2014

100 Books: Here, Take This (Subtitle:The One with the Book List*)

Yes, yes, I will write up the list of books for you.  Writing and reading use different parts of my brain and its hard to switch from receiving and absorbing book-stories to writing them.  

About a week ago a student who'd never been to my office before showed up to talk about her grade.

I knew her name, her grade, and why she wasn't doing well before she could even ask a question.

 I wonder if this is how doctors sometimes feel when they see a patient, maybe thinking Oh you, yes, I'm glad you came before this got worse, now here, take this. 

She doesn't sit in either of the two empty chairs but instead paces in circles in my room, admiring this and that, swatting at shiny and spinny things that hang from my ceiling, setting off tiny wind chimes and miniature flying dolphins.

You missed the first day so you don't understand the rules or how to play and that's made a huge difference in how you even understand how this class runs.

She agreed, pausing mid-swat at a dangling frog.

 Be early, don't miss class, write down EVERYTHING and make a friend to get notes from.

Again she agreed. This is too easy. There's going to be a catch. I leave room for her to talk.

I have a friend. She's in my English class.

Did you get notes from her?


I know all the students in two of my classes. I know most of the students in my huge class, but not by their actual names. For example, there's this pair of students who both always have cute tumblers on their desks and make serious faces at their papers when they write. I don't know their names, but I would notice if they were gone.  So I ask...

What's her name?

The  student flinches like I just asked her something incredibly private.

I don't push it, but I push it. 

I call the student by her actual NAME.

Her eyebrows shoot up.


Because I care.

I don't ask her my name, I know that would be pushing this way too far. But a wall has come down between us. 

Since I have her attention, I have to ask, I just have to know.

Did you read the book you gave me?

More silence. The wind chimes stopped ringing but the peach lamp continued to spin. 

You know I read it right? And wrote about it? But why did you give me THAT book? All the other books people gave me were books they personally treasured and the one you gave me -- well, I'd read it, I had to because its in a field I research and I just had to research - but I didn't love it the first time OR the second time,  and I have never passed my copy on to anyone who asked for a GOOD book. 

She smiles and quickly admits she gave me the first book she found in her closet.

It was in your CLOSET? You must have hated it! Why didn't you give me a book that you keep out and read a lot?

Her face brightened. Yes, she has a book for me.

What's it about?

Self love. 

I cringe and may/may not have said "eeeeeeeeek," making her laugh. She explains that the book helps a person connect with themselves so that they can connect to other people.

That's a valuable book, I tell her

Very, she nods and pokes the wind chimes one last time before our meeting is cut short at 12:45 when my 12:00 appointment arrived.

Here is a list of the books my students assigned me this semester that I've read as of the night of the first day of Spring Break.

1) Copper Sun
2) Hero
3) The Fault in Our Stars
4) Darkly Dreaming Dexter
5)I'd rather not say.
6) Their Eyes Were Watching God
7) Hunger Games 
8) The Shack
9) Running With Scissors
10) Hector's Rules for Happiness
11) The Butterfly and the Diving Bell
12) Ghosts of Edo
13) Ms Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children
14) Shift
15) A Walk to Remember
16) The Humming-bird Tree
17) The Racketeer
18) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
19) 13 Reasons Why
20)Can You Keep a Secret?
21) All Quiet on the Western Front
22) The Book Thief
23) Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store
24) Secrets of a Shoe Addict
25) 5th Horseman
26) The Perfection of Yoga
27) Who Moved My Cheese
28) The Power of Half
29) the curious incident of the dog in the night-time