I'm ready to divulge what I'm thinking about for the IB Seniors this year:
First Semester (chosen from a pretty restrictive IB list of authors):
Richard III: A returning text from last year. It's a great teach (Richard is quite the gangster), funny and morbid, and the Al Pacino film Looking for Richard makes it even better.
Much Ado About Nothing: Another returner. I'm someone who's never really liked Shakespeare comedies but I liked this one. The kids seemed to like it last year, too. It's light and funny and there's plenty to analyze in passages.
Essays by James Baldwin: After the lightness of Much Ado, we'll read the bleak but beautiful essays of James Baldwin. Once again I'll have them get the Library of Congress collection, which covers his entire career. I'll probably lighten the load of essays this year, but still get enough to get a picture of his career.
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton: A new text this year. It's a beautiful and amazing novel, and something that I think will push the kids out of their comfort zones a bit. I'm excited for the challenge.
Second Semester (chosen from a less-restrictive list of authors):
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga: Bar none the favorite book of my students last year, a funny and inventive read that sets up the semester theme of class struggle.
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison: One of my top-5 favorite novels of all time, and a book that has been a consistently good teach over the last 5 years or so.
July's People by Nadine Gordimer: I don't love this book, but it fits the theme well and is short. Gordimer does some interesting things with style here. I found it labored and overly mannered, but I like the idea of the plot and think some kids will like it. Plus it's short.
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid: The least sure thing, mostly because I haven't finished it yet (read the first couple of chapters online and waiting for it to arrive in the mail). But the plot fits well and Kincaid's language is rather beautiful. I think it will work well.
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