Ms. Pahomov hates it when strangers ask her “what book are you teaching in your English class right now?” Usually it means they want to just talk about what they liked to read (or not) in high school. When she was in high school, people told her she was a “fast reader,” and that was a bad thing for her, because she often read too quickly and missed the details. There are a lot of books she likes better now that she slowed down when reading, like “The Great Gatsby,” which she has probably read ten times at this point, each year when she teaches it. She is proud of the fact that she has the stamina for long books, but is more likely to carry around something that is 200 pages or less in her backpack.
One of the great sadnesses of her school year is that she uses so much of her brain to read and respond to student work that she has limited capacity to read on her own. She also recently discovered that she is old enough to have read books and COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN what they are about. Take, for example, the novel “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut. She is certain she read it as a teen, but a student asked her about the plot recently and she couldn’t remember a thing. She is a little bit worried that this represents the rest of her life: forgetting things and having to go back to them.
One of her great joys of the school year is when she gets to read alongside her students in class. Her plan is to re-read “Cat’s Cradle” as soon as she finishes “Bone” by Fae Myenne Ng. The hardest time for her to read is on a plane or train. She always tells herself that she will, but she’d much rather listen to music and look out the window. She is a little bit ashamed of the fact that she never reads in German anymore, although she can. Never enough time!