Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 7: Summer Reading List

One of the things I miss most about being in school (trust me, there is actually very little I miss) is the required reading (and writing). Each year, if you wanted to pass AP English or Intro to British Literature or (incredibly enough) Study of the American Food Memoir, you had to read a litany of books - sometimes more than seemed humanly possible - and write papers on said books.

In high school, much weight was placed on the summer reading list. For my district, that was a list of 30 to 50ish classics from which you had to chose eight to 12 over the course of the summer. Now that I think about it, that's a lot a books to read in less than three months for a nonreader. I am, and have always been, a big reader and also a pretty fast reader. But I'm sure that is tough for kids who aren't big on reading, and also is probably the reason things like Spark Notes exist. (Wait, do they still exist? Is there a need for Spark Notes in the internet age?)

I digress. As much of a challenge or a piece of a cake it was (autocorrect just change 'cake' to 'kale.' Coincidence? I think not!) I miss being FORCED to read books that pushed the envelope, or expanded my mind, or brought the great big world into better focus. Even the books that I hated (see: most of the reading list for the History of Human Bondage lit course I took in college) had an effect on me, molding and defining my interests in the world of literature and life itself.

So given the sort of "Back to Basics" kick I'm currently on, I've decided to hash out a rough reading list of 10ish books for this summer and challenge myself to knock out each one by summer's end. As you may know (and mentioned above) I am a big reader, but I'm not typically working from a list or recommendations. It tends to happen organically, and tends to ebb and flow. For example, I read 18 or so books last year - sometimes three in one month then nothing for a while. Hopefully this helps keep me reading regularly!

I have a few titles to start but I would welcome any and all book recommendations you might have to share! I like everything. Last year's reads spanned graphic novels, sci-fi, political thrillers, chick/mommy lit, poetry, self help, and more.

What's a great book you recommend and why? 

Now, in no particular order...

The Great Summer Reading List of 2014:

1. "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap" by Matt Taibbi
Fascinating and very scary topic - heard him speak about it on Bill Maher's show.

2. "The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri
The newest from my gal has been on my shelf since Christmas. Time to check it out. Also heard her read from any early draft in DC a few years ago!

3. "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I was so sad to hear of his passing and committed to reading this as soon as I heard. "One Hundred Years of Solitude" had a profound impact on me as a young reader and I've always wanted to read this one. Also file under one of the greatest titles of all time. Can I get an amen? 

4. "The Most of Nora Ephron"
Nuff said. 

5. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte
Re-reading this incredible masterpiece because it is an incredible masterpiece! 

6. "The Fortress of Solitude" by Jonathan Lethem
From one of the last Borders' fire sales. 

7... And on, TBD! (I am curious about Hil's book "Hard Choices," released in early June, and Diane Keaton's "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty.)

Now it's your turn, share away!



SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books in the entire world.

I'm not a nonfiction reader, so I have no recommendations there.

Do you use Goodreads? I love tracking my books on there. I have a hard time sometimes remembering everything I've read. I learned through Goodreads that I typically read close to 50 books a year. I'm at 22 right now for 2014.

In recent years, I've truly enjoyed Rules of Civility, A Hundred Summers, The Paris Wife,Me Before You, Ordinary Grace, Crossing to Safety, Tigers in Red Weather, and The Secret Keeper. None were life changing, but all were good reads.

DoshTate said...

I read Jane Eyre for the first time EVER about 2 years ago - and I am now obsessed with it. So much mystery! So much passion! So much angst! So many unattractive people! My fiction choice for you is "The Fault in Our Stars" (read it with a box of tissues, she said). I really enjoyed reading Sonja Sotomayor's autobiography. And for a slightly ed-u-ma-cay-shonal book, Barbara Kingsolver's latest "Flight Behavior" was fascinating. You will learn so much about monarch butterflies without even trying!