A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. written in a Russian influenced slang invented by the author, with a glossary at the end of the book. first person narrative by a sociopathic protagonist. compelling thematic questions if you use the version originally published that ends with the protagonist restored of his free will and embracing his dark nature. author wrote an additional chapter that I understand is now available on newer editions that apparently disavows the bleakness of the originally published version
Devil In A Blue Dress by Walter Mosley. first of the Easy Rawlins series. beautiful writing. and the entire series is a seminar in Black history and race relations in 20th Century Los Angeles
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. arguably the best detective story ever written
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. the reason there's an argument
The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley. 25 years after Chandler, a drugged-out cowboy elbows his way into the discussion
American Tabloid by James Ellroy. epic, ambitious revisionist history from a brilliant but disturbed personality
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. a far better book than the movie version. worth teaching for the discussion on the double meaning of the title alone
Everything happens for a reason. That reason is the universe doesn't care about you.
From: d <email@example.com>
Sent: Mon, Mar 8, 2010 9:34 am
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Noir for the classroom?
I'm a high school language arts (English) teacher, and I've just been asked to
come up with suggestions for a new elective class called "Great Books." The
idea is to have a class that would offer students compelling, contemporary books
that are high interest, yet have some "deeper" issues to discuss. Of course,
since I'm on the list, you can already guess that I'd love to include a
contemporary noir thriller.
I come before you to see what you might recommend that might meet the criteria.
The class is geared for juniors and seniors, so a little "adult content" is
fine, but nothing too over-the-top. (For example, I've taught THE BROTHERHOOD
OF THE ROSE by David Morrell in a previous class and never gotten any parental
phone calls. I could probably get away with THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, but
anything by Vicki Hendricks would be OUT.)
Again, we're trying to look for books from the past few years, but I'm pretty
open to suggestions.
Feel free to e-mail me offlist or reply here. Thanks in advance for your help!
Mahtomedi High School
RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
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