Not a ‘Just Book’.

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Everything in the world exists to end up as a book. -Stéphane Mallarmé

This here is a post about literature. To find more specific reviews done by me on YA lit, you can visit Bookinity (bookinity.co.uk).

Why do a post dedicated to books? Because like the events that occur in one’s life to shape them, books occur in mine. Music does too, but that’s more difficult to read a blog about. Books are…chapters in my life. I had this English teacher once, one of the only smart teachers I’d come by in high school, who believed that there was an honest difference between literature and just books.

He explained his logic that literature ascertains a certain quality of writing alongside employing literary devices that gave air to a brilliant work of fiction. Then he made a face and said, “Just books are Twilight. Dense paperweights.” Or something to that effect. Twilight was involved with much hate and was compared to paperweights at some point. He devoted the rest of the class complaining about it.

But it wasn’t as if he were wrong. I mean, technically speaking what he said made sense to me. But I really didn’t believe it until I got a weak mark on one of his papers. Being an average, yet bright student, I was accustomed to high marks when it came to English papers. I confronted him, he said that the writing was fine, but there was no depth.

I’d never really been criticized by a teacher like that. It hurt, I won’t lie. So i spent the rest of the semester devoted to earning this teacher’s acknowledgement that I was a good writer. This was the man who had only ever given out one 99% on a paper with the belief that absolutely no one could ever achieve a 100%. This was the man who quoted Shakespeare and read a play out loud with the same effect of watching a Christopher Nolan film.  I at least wanted to hit a ninety range. So rather than starting papers the night before, I started weeks in advance, and I got him to read over revised copies before handing it in. I devoted all my spare blocks to his class.

Finally, finally I got a 92% on my final paper. He written that he’d loved it as a comment and even the students sitting around me were in awe. A 92% in any other class was easy enough to pull off, but in his? Not so much. I felt…really brilliant. Respect for him was very selective. A Nobel Peace Prize didn’t even faze this man. It was all about being witty with prose for him.

Weeks later after exams, I went back to him to get my final mark for the course. As it turned out, he’d lost one of my older projects entirely and marked it down that I’d never handed it in, bringing my mark down a considerable amount as it was worth a lot. I went back to him to inquire and he told me to resend it to him by email that night. It was imperative I maintained an 80% in English for my enrolment at university in the fall. I was actually worried. That was a new for me.

I came home from school that day and he’d written me an email to ascertain that I had gotten a good mark and that he didn’t need to review the assignment:

It read: You write good essays. You deserve it.

I never went back to see him. I wanted his last words to remain his last. That I write good. That I deserved it.

I guess my lit reviews are also a tribute to him. Hopefully, through this, I can maintain his belief about literature. I believe that I do.

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