The answer is, I really can't. The very best I can do is to select books that represent the finest literature has to offer: soaring prose, intriguing characters, themes that resonate with students, and authors who utilize the very best techniques, structures, and styles within the pages of their works.
So, I simply introduce great books to eager students. It's a beautiful process to watch, as the flame of an idea leaps from the page into the heart and mind of the student! My hope is that, once the flame is burning, it will lead them across the library shelves, through eras and cultures and on to the nearly infinite travels in time and place offered between the covers of a book.
But, just for tonight, I am particularly fond of this basket of books. They represent the full-length works studied in Red Couch Reading Room's new Intro 2 Lit course, along with short stories, poems, and speeches selected especially to teach students the basics of literary analysis and, of course, light a flame.
Not all rigor is mortis!