I’m participating in The Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic: Top 10 Popular Authors I Haven’t Read.
I don’t really believe in “shoulds” or “have to’s” when it comes to reading: there is no single book that I think everyone ought to read. Life is too short to read books you don’t want to read.
But when you’re a professor who teaches in a certain field, your need for expertise is a little different. I’ve never read Walden or Moby Dick, and I think that’s perfectly ok. But then, I’m not an Americanist and don’t teach American Literature courses. When it comes to my field (Restoration and 18th-Century British Literature), I read the books that I was “supposed” to read. It wasn’t always pleasant, but I had a greater purpose for reading–the development of knowledge, expertise. I read like a scholar.
When I taught high school, I read YA because I liked it and because my students were reading it. In my workshop classroom, YA lit was the center of our classroom reading community.
But now, Adolescent Literature is also a field where I need to have expertise, because I teach my department’s only Adolescent Literature course. And the authors (and books) on my YA Shelf of Shame are, well, shameful. For this list, I decided to focus on authors I either haven’t read at all or have only read one book by. One of my reading challenges this year is to read 12 books on my YA Shelf of Shame. As this list proves, I have plenty of options!
1. Markus Zusak
2. M.T. Anderson
3. Nancy Farmer
4. Jerry Spinelli
5. Maureen Johnson
6. Matt de la Pena
7. Andrew Smith
8. Patricia McCormick
9. Paulo Bacigalupi
10. Libba Bray
And sadly, there are many other authors I could have added: Adam Rapp, Nancy Werlin, Diana Wynne Jones, Megan McCafferty, Donna Jo Napoli, Sharon Draper, Dana Reinhardt, Ned Vizzini, Chris Lynch, even Robert Cormier.
In my defense, I have checked most of these books out multiple times from the library and just haven’t been able to read them for whatever reason. I have tried to read The Book Thief probably a dozen times (including 3 times on audio) and abandoned it every single time. I have no idea what my problem with that book is, but I am determined to power through this year. By December, I am committing to reading at least 12 books featured in this post!