I have decided to complete the “52 Books in 52 Weeks” challenge. I shouldn’t be much of a challenge at all, given the amount I read for the classes I teach and the fact I’ll be starting grad school (again) shortly. Still, I thought for a year I’d keep track of everything I’d read, regardless of the reason or, for that matter, the “quality.”
January’s list was varied, to say the least:
|Dean Hamer||The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes|
|Bart Ehrman||God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question–Why We Suffer|
|Robert Baer||The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower|
|Bel Kaufman||Up the Down Staircase1|
|Paul Langan||Shattered 2, 3|
|Paul Langan and D. M. Blackwel||Blood is Thicker2, 3|
|Anne Schraff||Someone to Love Me2, 3|
|Anne Schraff||Until We Meet Again2, 3|
The Bluford books really shouldn’t count, I tell myself. They were something I read because some students were reading them. At the same time, I learned a great deal from them.
The series is aimed at African American students, and many of my black students say they can truly relate to the characters and situations.
In the case of Someone to Love Me, that is truly tragic. It tells the story of Cindy, a high school freshman who has only a distant relationship with her mother, who is constantly going out with her boyfriend Rafe (I believe that was his name — some shortened form of “Raphael”). She is constantly leaving her daughter at home with a couple of cats and a freezer filled TV dinners while she goes out on the town, eating out, buying new clothes, and generally acting selfishly irresponsible. When an elderly neighbor invites Cindy over for a hot dinner, she relish it: “It had been years since Cindy had eaten such wonderful homemade food.” Perhaps the most damning passage in the book. The girl goes on to get involved with an abusive older boy and has to face her mother’s anger — and physical abuse — when she tries to convince her that Rafe is a dealer. It is an emotional, sordid affair from page one.
If this is in any way the reality of any of my students, it’s little wonder they have difficulty focusing on school work.
2. For school
3. Bluford series (for school)