Three books that take me back to high school

This meme is hosted by Rebecca’s Lost in Books. Thanks for the inspiration!

I don’t have to go far to get back to high school.  I teach in one.  But that doesn’t mean here aren’t some books that make me think about my own experiences in high school.

The Catcher in the Rye. I know I’ve written about this book before, but I can’t help it. It’s a classic, and one I love. The scene with Ackley cutting his nails and talking to Holden — that takes me back in more ways than one.

Priceless quote from Holden: “All morons hate it when you call them a moron.”

A Separate Peace. In case you didn’t figure it out, I was a prep school kid — from grades six through 12, I called two different schools in New England home. I’ve always had a soft spot for this book.

A thought from Gene: “It seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart.”

Speak. I didn’t encounter this book until a few years ago, but Melinda’s description of her classes reminds me of more than one teacher I had in school.  In particular, her English teachers.  Sorry, folks… but from one English teacher to another…

On a lighter note, a great quote:

“I want to make a memorial for our turkey. Never has a bird been so tortured to provide such a lousy dinner.”

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6 thoughts on “Three books that take me back to high school

  1. +JMJ+

    The Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace also remind me of high school. That is, the time I was teaching high school.

    Salinger’s novel was on the syllabus when they hired me, so I had to reread it and teach it. (Most of the students–especially those in the honour society–just hated Holden.) Knowles’ book was a present from another English teacher, and I read during one Saturday morning I had to do brainless chaperon duty. I know that I want to read it again.

  2. +JMJ+

    My students said they didn’t understand why he couldn’t just try to get along with the system. =P While they sympathised with his grief over losing Allie, they thought his flunking out was just indulgent. Everyone has problems, etc.

    Did you get similar feedback from your students?

  3. Actually, they just found him annoying. Primarily it was all the “phony” commentary — they saw him as a poseur, affecting an attitude as a defense mechanism to cover up his own issues. Of course they were right to a degree, but any hint of hypocrisy just rubs them the wrong way, it seems.

    Love your writing on your site, by the way. Once I have a few free hours I’ll dive in and take a deeper look.

    • I found myself really impressed with Speak. I particularly enjoyed teaching it in my honors level classes. After Shakespeare and Dickens, they were inclined to under appreciate the book at first. I had to caution them that just because a book is written in simple language doesn’t mean the ideas are simplistic.

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