I suppose this year was dominated by three stories: Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream (our play was fantastic, the DVD just released) the musical GREASE, and Dickens' Oliver Twist!
I had no idea that Oliver Twist would affect me so mightily.
I had attempted teaching Dickens before: A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations and even in honors classes it's difficult to force kids to read those books. But Twist was different. I enjoyed it as much as any book I've read or taught in years. It was a feast. The rich characters so poor in morality but mighty in catechism...I found myself reading passages aloud over and over and enjoying it so much.
I know for many educators it's very challenging to break a new author or narrative into the dusty canon of books they use so brilliantly (and often lethargically) to their students as if we're so starved that we sustain ourselves on only a handful of titles bereft at the chance of falling in love with another.
It's nice to be surprised... imagine that, by a book no less!