Favorite books of favorite teachers


Lately, it seems as though reading has been lost in our generation with the rising popularity of movies, music and video games. However, there are still a select few who really enjoy reading.

We all know that we have to read books for our English classes, but what kind of books do the teachers enjoy? And which books are their favorites?

I sent an email to each English teacher asking for his or her favorite book and why it was his or her favorite so that the students of Elder may also read the novel and strike a conversation with the teacher about a common interest.

Mr. Briede said that his favorite book is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. “It’s a novel that I’ve always found to be both comic and deeply disturbing. I still laugh out loud when I remember or reread certain scenes; at the same time, I feel it captures much of the absurdity and insanity of both war and modern society,” he said.

Mr. Alig stated his favorite book to be The Great Gatsby.  “It is wrought with one man’s determination to achieve his dream.  Additionally, Fitzgerald’s command of the language is beautifully poetic.”

Also, Mr. Alig said that no other language can beat a specific line from the novel: “We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.”

The favorite novel of Mr. James is “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. He said “September, 1990…It doesn’t get any better than Mr. Mike Briede navigating the scenic California landscape, enlightening a young punk on the American genius that is John Steinbeck. My admiration for his work can be traced all the way back to room 201 and my sophomore English teacher.”

Mr. Ploehs said that his favorite book to teach is “The Great Gatsby” because he can identify with the narrator, Nick Carraway, with his observations on his society and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Mr. Ploehs’ favorite novel that he read is “An Antique Drum” by Thomas Howard. “That book used the premise that ‘everything means something’ instead of some people’s idea that ‘nothing means anything.’ That philosophy really helped to promote my own ‘Carpe Diem’ approach to life itself. How amazing that other people’s ideas, when read with an open mind, can influence one’s own thoughts and intent on living each day to the fullest.”

Obviously, not all of the English teachers and his or her favorite book are listed, but if you are curious to know which book he or she likes best, feel free to ask. I am sure an English teacher would love to take time to discuss a common interest in literature with you.

David McCullough once said “Learning is not to be found on a printout. It’s not on call at the touch of the finger. Learning is acquired mainly from books, and most readily from great books.” So go ahead and ask your teacher what book to read, and then read it!