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English Teachers’ Favorite Books: Mr. Watterson

Tom Watterson

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The Sound and the Fury

William Faulkner

Mr. Watterson poses with his favorite book. Photo by Madison Olsen.

Mr. Watterson poses with his favorite book. Photo by Madison Olsen.

“Like all of Faulkner’s stuff, it’s creepy and has a morbid curiosity about it. When I read it in college, it was the most confusing thing I’d ever encountered, but when I cracked the code and figured out how it was constructed, it became this delicious puzzle to solve. Most of the difficulty lies in the first portion of the text, which is narrated by a narrator who is probably autistic and has no sense of time. In pieces, he describes 19 events of his life, which are merged together without any real indication that he’s changing the subject. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, and you’re looking for this little piece in this little yellow corner.

One of the reasons why I was so interested in taking on the senior AP Lit and Comp course is because I knew this book was on the list. I loved it before I taught it, and teaching your favorite book in the whole world, is the high point of my school year.

In spite of the difficulty, and to some degree because of the difficulty, students end up really liking the challenge of it. When I ask students what [their favorite] book was, most say the Sound and the Fury, and some say it’s the best book they read in high school.”

Other recommendations from Mr. Watterson include:

The Monkeywrench Gang by Edward Abbey

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien

Car Camping by Mark Sundeen

Platte River by Rick Bass

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Deliverance by James Dickey

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Sula by Toni Morrison

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

I am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Reivers by William Faulkner

Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene

Seize the Day by Saul Bellow

The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor

 

Interview by Madison Olsen

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English Teachers’ Favorite Books: Mr. Watterson