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2005-08-12 | 11:41 p.m.

I have a job, a small job; a incipient joblet. I am to teach a class of high school students for the charter school. Teenagers! A seminar in literary analysis. Eek! I'm less than terrified but more than nervous. What if I don't like them? I know the best high school teachers really genuinely like teenagers, but in my limited experience I've found I only like some. I hope I get the good kind.

I taught college sophomores once, hardly more than teenagers, but that was a million years ago. I honestly can't remember how I got through it. I might as well have been an alcoholic. It's a complete blank.

One thing I know for sure is that I never prepared as much as I should have. So this time I'm trying to coach myself to be more prepared. But first I've got to figure out what I want them to read! What do they read these days? I'm reading things I haven't read in years. I've got lots of poetry in mind but I've got to be selective with the stories and novels. And of course, there must be Shakespeare. I'm thinking Hamlet or Macbeth. What would you do?

Strangely, I managed to get through high school without ever reading books that almost everyone else seems to have read. We read Animal Farm and 1984, and somewhere along the line I did The Great Gatsby, but I never read Catcher in the Rye, Flowers for Algernon, or Farewell to Manzanar, for example. Never read Lord of the Flies. Nor am I inclined to go back and read them now. I want to do good stuff, not stuff that smells like high school.

What do you think? A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? Motherless Brooklyn? The Exorcist? (Just kidding.) What would be the most delicious possible book to read in high school? Please respond. I need to know!

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