Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Over the summer, our rising eighth graders choose from a list of selected classics to read at the beach or while at camp. In the past we had the students do booktalks, but last year we changed it up and had the students write “single’s ads” for their dusty old classics who wanted to attract new readers. While there was some initial confusion over what a single’s ad was (“Do you mean a Match.com profile?”) they soon got the hang of it using these writing prompts and reading the example I had way too much fun writing for them:
• “My ideal reader/date must love…because…”.
• “A knowledge of/passion for…is a plus.”
• “On our first date, we will…”.
• “My favorite food or type of restaurant is…so you must love eating…”.
• “My favorite song is…because…, or I love listening to…”.
• “My favorite season is…because…”.
• “Usually, on my days off, I like to…”.
• “My favorite hobbies are….”.
• “I’d like to travel with you to…because…”.
• “My favorite movies include…because…”.
Example: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
“Depression-era gentleman seeks eager young reader who enjoys creek water out of a tin cup, seeing greater America from the back of a rusty Model-T, and doesn’t mind a little dust in his or her hair. Must love sunsets over prairies, long soliloquies about turtles, and know how to change a tire. Knowledge of migrant worker laws and rights a plus. Our first date will start with breaking a picket line and end with peach cobbler (made from the peaches we hand pick by moonlight). If you think you are the reader for me, you can find me at your local public library, not too far down on the shelf from Shakespeare.”
This year’s batch is just as creative, funny and provocative as last year’s. Can you guess the book titles from their descriptions? (Answers at the end) Maybe after reading them, you’ll be inspired to make a date with a classic!
1. Greetings scurvy-free landlubbers! If ye be looking for an open sea sailor, look no further. I be a blood-thirsty buccaneer, sailing the seven seas twenty four-seven. My interests include swash bucklin’, treasure hunting, and eating feasts of moldy cheese and dry tasteless biscuits cooked by Long John Silver himself. In my spare time I enjoy community service by helping abandoned maroons on deserted islands. My favorite movies be “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Treasure Island the Movie”, and “The Muppets on Treasure Island”. “Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall” be me favorite song and me favorite hobbies are sailing, drinking, and fire fights. My favorite season is summer, because it be the best for treasure hunting. It would be a plus if you have a passion for any of these. On our first date we shall go exploring on me boat, the Hispaniola, and we would travel to Skull Island to uncover the buried treasure of Captain Flint.–SL
2. I am a World War II Jewish American girl seeking a new young adult reader. I am from Jenkinsville, Arkansas, which is located in the South. The person I am looking for has to live in South and be open to changes because even though I’m a Jewish American living in the time of the Holocaust I took in a German Solider. My parents aren’t too fond of me because they think I’m ugly and worthless. Don’t be too worried about meeting them because they don’t find any interest in me and they are the last people I would go to if something good happened to me. My mother Perl Bergen fancies my younger sister Sharon because she is prettier and more talented that I. She just hasn’t realized I am a loving and caring person. I am a 12-year-old girl but I am very mature for my age. I am not afraid to take risk because I always have my second “mother” there to support me. My “mothers” name is Ruth and she treats me like her own daughter. I really like Ruth because she shows interest in me. Another person I love to hangout with is my grandma Fried she is so nice and gets me things that I need. If you want to find me you can pass by my parents store and then we can run to my hide out to start a new adventure.–TM
3. I am seeking an ideal date who must love my friends the Cheshire Cat; you will never forget his smile. On our first date, we will have tea, with cucumber sandwiches with the crust cut off and warm sconces with butter and jam. My favorite song is “The Unbirthday Song” I love to listen to it because my mad friends and I always have a brilliant time when we along. Usually, on my days off, I like to eat treats that make me change in size and cry and ocean. My favorite hobbies are playing croquet and talking with my friends the Caterpillar. Hopefully you don’t find the smell of hookah smoke offensive because on our date, well have some. I’d like to travel with you down a rabbit hole to an unusual place where you can go on an adventure and help me defend myself against a queen with a big temper.–SRG
4. Hi! I’m a sweet single novel looking for love while hiding from the Nazis. I would need a nice new reader who doesn’t mind close quarters (our annex can get a really squished) or having to keep quiet. I love a reader who can listen to and appreciate honest conversation (VERY honest), but also has a sense of humor. On our first date we’ll sharing funny descriptions of the other annex residents. Creativity in the kitchen is a plus, because we don’t have much food variety. I must admit, I do have mood swings, but I am usually very kind and smart. I’m crazy about writing in my free time. While the annex life can get slow and quiet, there are lots of scares and excitements that happen all the time, including burglaries and the fear of being found. If you like beautiful, witty, honest books, and aren’t a Nazi, come join us in hiding.–ECO
5. Looking for single Hobbits or dwarfs. My ideal date must love long adventures through mountains to different lands and must love gold. Knowledge of making spells, fighting dragons and killing trolls is a plus. On our first date we will celebrate with the hobbits with the finest ale. We will also watch Gandalf’s exceptionally good fireworks. A little about me: I love listening to the dwarfs sing. My favorite time of year is the spring when all the flowers start to bloom and the weather is perfect. Usually on my days off I like to sit at home, relax and smoke a pipe or go to the tavern. My hobbies include reading fantastic tales, and performing magic. My favorite movie is “Lord of the Rings”. If you are looking for an action-packed quest full of surprises I am the book for you.–AO
6. Post-Cold War era teenager looking for new young readers. She must enjoy all kinds of weather, exploring all the greater parts of New York, and doesn’t mind a little garbage on her clothes. She must also have both an energetic attitude and a slow lethargic attitude, depending on the drug previously ingested, of course. My date must enjoy sampling different substances, and chilling at the house I share with friends. One addition that I’m looking for is a tolerance for a variety of smells because we may end up in sewers or other nasty places. One thing we should get out of the way is I am terrified of the bomb and war. My idea of a first date is a quick swim in the Hudson River, followed by a little prank here and there. Our night would conclude by sitting in the park and looking at the moon while sharing a little grass. You can meet me on the Lower East Side trying to score some LSD or Crystal.–LW
7. My perfect reader knows something about gardening and loves gardens. My fitting date would also be curious because I love being in a new place and trying to find something exciting. I also have a big vocabulary but don’t worry I always translate words you might not understand. On our first date we will have a nice dinner outdoors of course and we will share stories and jokes. I enjoy telling stories about places I’ve been and art I’ve seen. If I could travel anywhere with you I would like to go to India because that’s where I was born. Traveling around England would be good too because the people and the English are known for their. My favorite movie is “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” because he is a sweet boy who came to his parents from their vegetable patch. If you want to meet up just bring your gloves, pruning tools and something you would be ok with getting dirty.–LD
8. Interesting female seeks a very lucky reader who wants to travel through generations of Chinese history and immigration. Must appreciate traditional Asian cooking, stories, games and pushy parents. You should be talented or at least appreciate talent. Do you play the piano? Chess? Are you familiar with the game Mah-jong? If you don’t have any stories to share with The Joy Luck Club, the story-sharing family gathering, you better go out and make up some. No one would want to miss out on this opportunity to share experiences. When you commit yourself to this relationship, you better mean it because a commitment with this book is a commitment for life.–SG
9.Young male artist from Brooklyn in the mid-1900′s looks for a reader who is daring, rebellious and not afraid to follow their heart. Must love the summer time, art, and orange juice. You should also know that I am an observant Jew so knowledge of the Torah is a bonus, as well as knowledge of art galleries and artists in general. Our first date would be painting in the streets of Paris or Florence. I am a deep thinker and it is my greatest dream to travel the world and capture its beauty. I am also rather sensitive and enjoy solitude. Although I don’t seem like much, I can be just as exciting or moving as any book. I’d like to travel with you to Cape Cod and all over Europe because of the magnificent buildings, people and landscapes. I hardly have any spare time. In fact, I am always busy doing one thing or another. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can find me at most libraries under P for Potok.–SS
10. I am an intelligent adventure that is handy with machinery. I have lived in many different places over time, from England in the Nineteenth Century to dark caves where no sunlight exists, and even in beautiful meadows with interesting forms of architecture. Some of my hobbies and interests include: traveling through time, exploring dark caves, and lighting fires. My ideal date is an intelligent person who will fancy my complicated words so we may have many compelling conversations. A passion for darkness and caves is a plus, although if you have a soft innocent side that loves sunlight and company then that is equally desirable. I love large juicy fruits, but occasionally have a strong passion for meat. I hope you will find my British accent attractive and easily understandable. On our first date we will travel through time as I tell you about the development of men and women. If you think you are the reader for me, contact me at any public library under W. Text me in the future–KMM
1. Treasure Island 2. Summer of My German Soldier 3. Alice in Wonderland 4. The Diary of Anne Frank 5. The Hobbit 6. The Basketball Diaries 7. The Secret Garden 8. The Joy Luck Club 9. My Name is Asher Lev 10. The Time Machine