Filling in for a teacher who had had an appendectomy, I got to teach Of Mice and Men this year. Since kids today know nothing about the 1930s (it's a not a telegenic decade, like the 1920s or the 1950s), I did a whirlwind history of the 1930s first. I really enjoyed doing this.
I loved the movie that Malkovich and Sinese did. I also saw the play at Wayne State when I was in grad school there. Speaking of that time, I read lots of Steinbeck when I was particularly depressed. He's a good writer for depressed people.
When I taught 7th grade language arts, the single novel we read as a group was The Red Pony. The girl in my brightest class who was reading during the scene of the horse's death had to ask me to take over as she was in tears.
Phoenix -- I think I have Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? memorized.