For a teacher, summer always holds such promise. The possibilities are endless. I try to cram as much me-time in as I can. This generally includes travel, beach days, pool time, home projects, and the best part, writing and reading every single day.
Normally, I don’t read for pleasure much during the school year because I’m busy reading what I’m teaching or grading papers and trying to fit as much writing time as I can. This school year, however, I read 13 books (including four that I critiqued for other writer friends, something new to my repertoire that I thoroughly enjoyed). Among my favorites published reads: Every Last One by one of my favorite authors Anna Quindlen and some poetry collections, Milk & Honey and The Sun & Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay, and White Portals by Jennifer Holley-Lux, a college friend of mine.
During the school year, I love to accumulate books into a summer pile. I look forward to it like a vacation. Time to delve in and let the words seep into my soul.
The Saving Graces, Patricia Gaffney – I chose this novel because I’m working on a WIP (writing in progress) for which I think this might be a strong comp.
The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah – Highly recommended by a friend, a “You must read this” novel
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste NG – Because I also read Everything I Never Told You and loved it so much
Mrs. Fletcher, Tom Perrotta – Another go-to author for me. I’ve read every one of his novels and he does not disappoint. I even bought this in hardcover because I couldn’t wait for the paperback to be released. Anyone who follows me know I usually wait. I want to read this novel that much!
Letters from the Prophets, Julian J. Schlusberg – I bought this memoir, written by a theater teacher I had in high school and one who inspired me to teach, several years ago. I couldn’t sleep one night last week, so I picked this off my shelf and dove in. I highlighted a lot of quotes because he’s always been so prophetic. Julian speaks about many people I know personally which made it especially fun (I even got a mention in it!) Teachers in general would love this book but especially those who love the theater.
The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman – I saw this one in a bookstore. I love the title and the back cover description piqued my curiosity. AND, apparently, it’s been made into a film which, of course, I’ll watch after I’ve read the book.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood – I read this novel in college and LOVED it. This turned me on to Atwood’s writing style and I continued reading her work. I’ve always loved a novel with religious undertones. This became especially relevant, as have so many other dystopian novels, and the release of the series adaptation hyped-up interest. I’ve always wanted to teach this, so I proposed teaching it to my AP Language & Composition class, and it was approved for a pilot. I’m having so much fun rereading it and creating a unit.
Everyday, David Levithan – My exposure to YA novels stems much from the independent reading projects I assign to my students. I like to keep up with what they’re reading. I first read this last summer and it was transformative in the sense that it makes you think about the perception of others as different than your own. This was my debut read of Levithan’s work, and it won’t end here for me. I decided to make this novel the focus of my Summer Reading Group book for school. A colleague and I always choose a pairing (novel and newly released film). Students sign up to read and watch over the summer, then we discuss it when we return in the fall. Can’t wait for this conversation!
London, Edward Rutherfurd – It’s been three years since I’ve read this hulking novel. Rutherford has a way of bringing setting to life like a character, much like Dickens. This novel will serve as a touchstone to refer to throughout the school year for my British Literature students and it will be the springboard for a spring festival at school which we call London Alive, something two other colleagues and I have collaborated on in the past.