On the first day that books were due he marched up to the front of the room and proudly handed me "Copper Sun." I shook my head, I love this book, no way, this was Book #1 of my project. I express delight that he's read such a great book and I ask him to bring me a different book.
Next class he shows up smiling and hands me his copy of Unwind. No way, I shout at the poor kind, much like a crazy person that I am becoming going through these books like they are cupcakes making me giddy and sick and giggly. I hold the book up for the class and proclaim that it is a GREAT book and everyone should read it or at least read my review. Since I can't remember which book it was (20? 57?) I can't begin to steer my students toward anything helpful I've written. I should probably make an index of books. Or someone should. Wouldn't that be nice?
The beleaguered and incredibly well read student then brought me Arthur Miller's The Crucible. I've heard of it, but I've never read it. Or if I read it, it was during the first Reagan administration while I was wearing day-glo and hoping to grow up and become half as awesome as Madonna.
I read The Crucible in two short sittings and although the student who assigned the book to me didn't tell me I could write in it (oops, sorry) I couldn't help myself and had to pick up a pen and mark up the best parts.
In case you haven't read the book, here's a quick overview. This book was written during the post WW2 Red Scare, but is set in Salem during the famous witch trials. This is really cool the same way that M*A*S*H was set in Korea but was also very much about the Vietnam War.
Here are the parts I couldn't help but mark up so that I'd remember to show to you:
HALE: Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small.
Brave slam at intolerance in the US during the McCarthy Era.
That same sentiment comes from another character a little later when Danforth says "...a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road in between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time - we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world."
HATHORNE: How do you dare come roarin' into the court! Are you gone daft, Corey?
GILES: You're not a Boston judge yet, Hathorne. You'll not call me daft.
Giles practically says you can't call me daft YET. I giggled.
Wait, it gets better.
When Danforth asks Giles (you know, the guy I just mentioned above) how he responds to the accusation of being charged with a lie, Giles responds, "A fart on Thomas Putnam, that is what I say to that."