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Did a teacher ever introduce you to a book; which one(s)?
It’s been such a long time since I was in school, but in high school we had a lot of required books for English Literature, so my English teacher did introduce me to those books. One that comes to mind is Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.
What was your favorite book(s) as a kid?
Again, I don’t remember exactly, but I do recall favorite stories – Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood – I told you it was a long time ago – and I could not get enough of Rumpelstiltskin by the Brothers Grimm. Just trying to say the name thrilled me no end. In high school I devoured the Enid Blyton Famous Five books, Little Women, The Abbey Girls, Wuthering Heights, Jayne Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, the Charles Dickens’ books and so many more.
Who was your favorite teacher at any point in your youth; why?
I had many favorites, but my high school English teacher, Miss David, stands out. She was firm, but made our English Literature classes come alive and inspired in me a love for reading and writing. She sometimes read my essays to the class.
What popular book have you never read and or faked reading?
Beloved by Toni Morrison. I attempted reading this book several times and always put it down. I’ve read most of Ms. Morrison’s books and I think her style is inimitable, but I found Beloved way too dark and difficult to fathom.
Did you ever do any creative projects in school based on a book; what?
None that I recall.
What book(s) has had the greatest influence in your adult life?
Again, there are so many. First, the Bible, of course, the infallible word of God, I believe it’s the greatest manual for life. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, a small book, but highly motivational. Cutting For Stone, an epic medical drama by Abraham Verghese, set in Africa and America. This gripping novel will teach you about sibling rivalry and the remarkable bond of brotherly love that can never be broken. And how could I forget The Life of Pi? An inspiring tale of grit, determination, and survival.
What words or advice from a teacher has had the greatest influence in your adult life?
“Never stop learning.” Those words by one of my youngest teachers have followed me throughout my life. I never want to stop learning.
What book have you read as an adult that you wish you’d read as a child or teen?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I may not have understood everything in the book as a child or teen, but I would now be able to look back and see how the things that Huxley wrote about back then – the rise of technology, the drug culture, material pursuits and others – are manifesting themselves in our world today.
If you were a teacher, what book would you recommend to a student and why?
I would recommend The Hunger Games. It has enough fantasy to keep a young person turning the pages, but it also teaches a lot of valuable lessons such as courage, love, family relationships, and the struggle for survival. Even though most students may never face the death sentence Katniss faces, they will be able to see themselves in her struggles against all odds.
What would you write about or have you written about in a children’s book?
I haven’t written children’s books, but I’ve been thinking about writing a children’s book about remaining loyal to your friends or family even when tempted to go after new friends or new things that may seem more appealing.
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