When I began teaching English, I was already a great fan of Toni Morrison. I photocopied her entire first novel, The Bluest Eye, to use for one class and later was able to order classroom sets. A student came up to me after class and asked where he could find her poems. She doesn't write [...]


  The rape scene is explicit. I taught The Bluest Eye for 25 years. It is an extraordinary novel told from multiple perspectives. A little girl is ruined, driven insane and lost. The language is stunning, beautiful, masterful. I introduced the novel with an early event where a narrator describes being sick and feeling her [...]


A student wrote to me the other day to thank me for assigning Mountains Beyond Mountains when she was  junior in my class. The young woman is in her third year of medical school and credits Tracy Kidder's true story of Dr. Paul Farmer for inspiring her ambition. It was not the only nonfiction I [...]