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  • One of my favorite things about being a college teacher is that I can force my students to read whatever I want.

    One day as a young teen I was visiting my grandparents and wandering around my original hometown of Corona. I walked into the central library, and checked out a Kurt Vonnegut book, Jailbird. This was the first Vonnegut book I had ever read, and in the next few years I read nearly every book he had written. I never returned that book to the library, the only library book I ever kept.

    Now I teach US history, and I assign Jailbird to the class. It is a very unconventional choice, but it is his most historical novel. As I tell my students, there are two reasons I assign the book, one for the history, and two, because every American should read at least one Kurt Vonnegut book! But there is one other connection, and that is to that kid wandering around town picking up a book and having his life change.
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