High Interest Contemporary Lit

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Koriemo, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Jul 22, 2015

    Next school year, I'll be teaching a different English course. We previously offered creative writing as an elective, but the school wanted a full year English elective decided to offer a semester of contemporary literature as well. The class will be mostly seniors who want an academic elective credit. Creative writing already has a reputation of being rigorous, so many of the students will be college bound and pretty motivated.

    We will mainly read novels and do lit circles.

    I have some options for novels. Does anyone have any experience with these books, or suggestions for others? I'd also like to add some nonfiction options, so suggestions for that would be helpful too!

    - The Kite Runner
    - The Help
    - Water for Elephants
    - The Poisonwood Bible
    - The Lovely Bones
    - Joy Luck Club
    - Fight Club
    - The Secret Life of Bees
    - The Book Thief
     
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  3. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2015

    This may not be the direction you were looking to go, but a nonfiction book I really enjoyed in high school is Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream. It really does look at how the town's fixation on high school football had a negative impact on the kids that actually played.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2015

    The other senior class (not the one I teach) does Kite Runner. I love the book. Just make sure they have enough understanding of the context.

    I chose The Help as my summer book club book this year.

    I'll be doing The Book Thief with my new senior elective. I'm also doing Unbroken, The Year We Disappeared, The Blind Side, Freedom Summer Murders, Macbeth, Warriors Don't Cry, and one thematic young adult unit TBD.

    I've never read Fight Club, but I have seen the movie. Might want to get parent permission (depending on your area) if it's like the movie. We're a pretty conservative area. I have had students do it for summer reading though.

    I would think The Lovely Bones would go over pretty well with students. I did not care for Joy Luck Club as a student myself. Haven't read it since.

    Friday Night Lights is on my list to read.
     
  5. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    Jul 22, 2015

    Second Friday Night Lights

    Also, my kids really liked Into the Wild

    I finally got around to ready Unbroken this summer and now I wish I had ordered a class set of it when I ordered some books in May.
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2015

    A wonderful nonfiction book is The Girls of Atomic City, especially if they are also taking physics. Also, Death in the City of Light is creepy and may be high interest for them.

    Have you considered including any graphic novels? My Friend Dahmer is a nonfiction graphic novel. My students love it!
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 22, 2015

    I love several of the titles on your list, espeically Water for Elephants, Poisonwood Bible, and Secret Life of Bees.

    What about A Thousand Splendid Suns by Hosseini, Snow Falling on Cedars by Guterson, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, A Hundred Flowers by Tsukiyama, and Reading Lolita in Tehran by Nafizi.

    Non-fiction - Riding the Bus With My Sister, a memoir by Rachel Simon about learning to know her mentally disabled sister.
     
  8. kaitydid

    kaitydid Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2015

    I student taught AP Language and Composition (11th grade) in addition to regular English 11, and the AP class read In Cold Blood. The kids loved it and really got into it!
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jul 23, 2015

    Native Son by Richard Wright
    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
    An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski (true story)
     
  10. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2015

    Thanks!

    I will definitely read Friday Night Lights this summer to see if it will work for our class.

    Thanks for reminding me about In Cold Blood! That was one of my favorites in high school.

    I'm also considering Devil in the White City for a nonfiction option, since we live in Chicago. I'm not sure, though, since it is pretty dry.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 23, 2015

    I do In the Garden of Beasts by Larson. I used to do Devil, but I've found the kids like Garden a bit better. They know so much and so little about the Holocaust and WWII, so it's a very cool unit from a different perspective. They did like the serial killer aspect of Devil though. I would think it depends on the level of your kids.

    I should've mentioned earlier my AP list too. We also do I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Brave New World, In Cold Blood, An Ordinary Man, and Smartest Kids in the World.
     
  12. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Jul 23, 2015

    Alicia My Story

    Is nonfiction written by a female holocaust survivor.
     
  13. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    Jul 24, 2015

    I let my kids choose their non-fiction book last year and they read a couple of chapters of Devil the White City and a couple of chapters of Into the Wild and they chose Into the Wild because Devil in the White city was too dense for them.

    I love Erik Larson though. I just finished Dead Wake-his latest about the sinking of the Lusitania-and it was really good.
     
  14. charlottesome

    charlottesome Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2015

    Non-Fiction:
    Into the Wild
    The Tipping Point

    Memoir Non-Fiction (great way to teach the oft-overlooked genre)
    The Glass Castle
    Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
    Running w/Scissors (mature audiences)
    Angela's Ashes
     
  15. ~HistoryNut~

    ~HistoryNut~ Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2015

    Little Red Guard is a remarkable autobiography. It explores the author's upbringing in China, and his family's struggles between old traditions (his grandmother in particular) and new order (communism). He incorporates a lot of humor into it which makes it a quick read, and it'd make for a great discussion piece.
     

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