Book Junkie

In a stack of papers called Reading.

  • Feb
  • 05
  • 2006

I didn’t even realize I’d started the habit back up. Time to revisit the methodone clinic.

A profound shift from my former routine of walking in empty handed and walking out in need of a forklift, over the last several years I’ve done a good job of kicking the bookstore habit. I freely walk into store after store without buying so much as a magazine.

Surprise! That’s all changed and, I’ll admit it, I’m a book junkie again. Almost as quickly as I stopped buying and piling books around the house in some kind of obsessive-compulsive haze, stacks now cover any open space on my bookcases, overflowing across the top of my coffee table. I can’t face the day without that new book by… I don’t care, whatever her name is, I need it! Just give it to me!

My recent visits to bookstores have been to stock up on material I can photocopy for my continuing voyage to concentrate on nonfiction (yes, this is a habit complete with a justification process). The Sociology section has been a good find, something I never paid much attention to before.

A list of titles to share is growing, books that I’ve just happened upon while browsing the aisles; this is as good a time as any to start documenting that list. Looking for a score? Have a glance at this list, you junkie.

Short Takes; edited by Judith Kitchen
Short Takes: Brief Encounters With Contemporary Nonfiction
Judith Kitchen (ed.)
A collection of 76 different short pieces (2 to 8 pages long), it looks like several of these will make it into my classroom.
The Outlaw Bible Of American Literature; edited by Alan Kaugman, Neil Ortenberg, Barney Rosset
The Outlaw Bible Of American Literature
Alan Kaufman, Neil Ortenberg, Barney Rosset (eds.)
How can you pass up on a chance to get brief segments of On The Road, Junky, Always Running, Fight Club, The Bell Jar, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test into the hands of kids who want something interesting to read? Add to that the way the contents are organized around a theme and perhaps this should be the primary text of an English 3 classroom, not ancillary (thanks to Allison for first exposure to this).
Gig; edited by John Bowe, Marisa Bowe, Sabin Streeter
John Bowe, Marisa Bowe, Sabin Streeter (eds.)
This is a collection of several short bits written by people about their jobs. Just about every job you can think of is in here, yes, including the oldest profession in the world. I see potential in reading about someone else’s job, one that you perhaps would like to pursue or about which you have a preconceived notion.
In The Belly Of The Beast; by Jack Henry Abbot
In The Belly Of The Beast
Jack Henry Abbott
Written by someone whose actions reveal a terrible man, students are interested in reading what life is like inside a prison and this book does a good job of showing exactly that.
First French Kiss; by Adam Bagdasarian
First French Kiss
Adam Bagdasarian
Without having read too much of this, I can say that it holds promise to have many examples of easily accessible reflective essays.

Books I Want

The Best American Sports Writing 2005; edited by Mike Lupica
The Best American Sports Writing 2005
Mike Lupica (ed.)
The Best American Magazine Writing 2005; edited by Nicholas Lemann
The Best American Magazine Writing 2005
Nicholas Lemann (ed.)
Best Newspaper Writing 2005; edited by Aly Colon
Best Newspaper Writing 2005: American Society of Newspaper Editors Award Winners and Finalists
Aly Colon (ed.)
Best Food Writing 2005; edited by Holly Hughes
Best Food Writing 2005
Holly Hughes (ed.)

My eye lingers on several Bedford/St. Martin’s Press books, but if I even begin to list the ones that sound good, this entry will never end. Didn’t that feel good, though? I can stop anytime. Really.


1. Debbie says:

[2/5/2006 - 10:00 am]

So, how do you incorporate these into the classroom? Photocopy the essay for the whole class, and each class? Copy a class set? Scan it and post it on a website?

2. Todd says:

[2/5/2006 - 10:55 am]

The best option for me always ends up being to photocopy the essay for each student. I’ll also go around the room while kids are writing and give the book, open to a certain essay, to a specific kid because I think it’ll give her/him some good ideas.

Scanning the pages to post to the Web site is something I’m thinking of, though. Also, if I find any teachers with student aides that don’t have anything to do, I’ll have those kids type up the essays. Recording some essays being read and playing back that recording during class might happen and I could post that audio on the site, too.

But this is the problem, isn’t it? Finding good texts to use is only half of the issue; getting those texts into the hands of our students is the other half.