Author Carol WallCarol Wall is an American writer and former English teacher whose storytelling skills won over reluctant students. Her memoir about an unlikely friendship that transformed her life, Mr Owita’s Guide to Gardening, is published by Random House Australia.
Our Town Thornton Wilder Our Town is actually a three-act play that my students read almost every year I taught high school English, and it gets a special mention in Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening. The students especially enjoyed the assignment of creating booklets in which they noted small things that brought joy to their daily lives. On the cover they wrote the words of Emily Webb, “O Earth, you are too wonderful for anyone to realise you”.
Washington Square Henry James What a great story—a masterpiece of storytelling. Not a single step is placed awry. I also found it amazing how much my students were drawn to the 1949 film adaptation, The Heiress, starring Olivia de Havilland. They would start off making snide remarks over being forced to watch an “old movie” in class. Invariably, they were racing to my classroom so that they could watch as much as possible during that day’s class time.
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Every high school teacher in the South teaches To Kill a Mockingbird, and I was no exception. I loved that book, having read it for the first time as I was growing up in the South in the 1960s. I was Scout, the curious and (sometimes) bold seeker. More importantly, my dad, though not a lawyer, was the Atticus Finch of our small town. You can tell from my description of him in Mister Owita that he was my hero. I miss him very much.
Einstein Walter Isaacson I love biographies and one of my favourites is Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe. I love to read about people and their approaches to their problems, which everyone has of course. I admired the creative and unconventional aspect of Einstein’s life—his penchant for questioning conventional wisdom and his respect for free thinking. Often, my friend Giles Owita and I had discussed Einstein and his theories, and I was therefore especially interested in this book.
Spoken From the Heart Laura Bush Laura Bush’s autobiography is one of my more recent favourites. She writes with grace, candour and humour about her fascinating life, both before her eight years in the White House and during her husband George W’s presidency. What a classy, elegant woman. I’m not sure she was in love with the political scene, and I have often thought I would love to talk with her—not about her time in the spotlight, but about other things.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.