Today I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for their weekly feature, Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s prompt is “top ten books that would be on my syllabus if I taught X 101.”
This prompt is particularly apt now because I started college classes this week! EEEK. I mean, I’ve attended dual-credit classes before, but I’ve never been a full-time college student. IT IS EXHILARATING AND INTIMIDATING ALL AT ONCE.
Anyway, if I could teach any class ever, I would teach one about words! I LOVE WORDS. In this class, my students would learn about grammar, vocabulary, writing, stories, etymology, the history of books, and much, much more! AHHH I WOULD LOVE TO TAKE THIS CLASS. I DESIGN THE BESTEST CLASSES, OBVIOUSLY.
1. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson
OMG BILL BRYSON IS SO FREAKING FUNNY. I have never laughed out loud while reading a book about language before… OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. His nonfiction works are crammed full of information, and they’re hilarious!
This was a really interesting look at how the English language evolved in America. I loved the comparisons between UK and US vocabularies!
3. Frindle by Andrew Clements
BECAUSE NEW WORDS ARE CREATED ALL THE TIME. I would include this book because it shows that words aren’t created by a Highly Official Committee of Wordiness – ordinary people create them, and then others start imitating them!
4. The Professor and the Madman:
A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
OMG THIS BOOK WAS SO WEIRD. And really, really good! The two men in charge of creating the OED worked together for years and years and years, but did not meet one another in person until several decades had passed… because one of them was in prison. For murder. And he hadn’t told the other man. Like I said, this was such an odd book… and a really interesting look at life in the Victorian era!
5. A Step from Heaven by An Na
An Na’s use of language in this book is absolutely freaking wonderful. Her protagonist, Young Ju, moves from South Korea to California, and the novel follows her from age four to age eighteen-ish. Along the way, she learns English, and her understanding of language grows by leaps and bounds. This is BRILLIANTLY portrayed through Na’s use of vocabulary and sentence structure. OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS, I LOVE THIS NOVEL SOOOO MUCH.
6. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English
by Patricia T. O’Conner
7. Matilda by Roald Dahl
I wanted to include a book about the power of stories on this list… this one’s my favorite!
8. Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter
Technically, this is a kid’s book, but “how to” manuals for kids are so much better than those for adults, aren’t they?! I find them to be funnier, much more creative, et cetera. They’re so helpful when you’re trying to learn the basics of a particular subject!
9. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
This is a story about – among many other things – American Sign Language! I think it’s important to understand the validity of all forms of communication: Speaking, writing, sign language, and more.
10. Misery by Stephen King
If you want to understand the relationship writers have with their creations – or if you already understand it and just want to find someone else who knows that feeling – then you need to read this book. IT IS SO SO SO GOOD.
What class would you love to teach? (What class do you think you’re QUALIFIED to teach?!) And which books would you require your students to read as part of that class?