I love when students bring me a book and tell me to read it. Although I do that for them so often, (here, take this, read this, you’ll love it!) it is surprisingly rare to have a student bring in a book for me. And you know as well as I do there’s a huge difference in telling someone to read a book, or recommending someone read a book, compared to putting that book into that person’s hands. THAT will encourage most people to at least leaf through the book.
Last week I had the good fortune of having not one, but two students hand me books and tell me I would love them. They were both right.
One book, Ophelia, by Lisa Klein, is essentially a re-imagining about Ophelia from Hamlet, and it considers the story from her perspective–a motherless daughter with only a obsequious, sycophant for a father, and an absent older brother. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, as the version of Ophelia that Klein imagined matched my imagined version of her. Early in the play she appears sharp and sassy, and I’ve always struggled with accepting she’d just let herself drown. Since we are reading Hamlet in class, it was perfect timing.
The second book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni, is a refreshing look at how it doesn’t actually matter where you go to college–what matters is HOW you go to college. This is no surprise to me, or many other adults, but I think the data collected in this book roundly trounces the concept of the US News and World Report‘s list of top colleges. With the fervor and obsession many students have about getting into the “right” college, this book seems a timely publication asking us to reconsider why we go to college, and how we choose colleges.
So the next time you need a good book recommendation, turn to your students, they may surprise you.
Posted by Kate, VP Secondary PCTELA