Tag Archives: reading list

Summer 2015

13 Jun

My summer vacation time doesn’t start for another ten days, but I’m SO ready for it now. Every summer I get a big stack of books ready so there won’t be a lack of choices. Today I just finished reading Revival by Stephen King. I’m not a big King fan, but I loved this one. So now, I want something a little less intense and I’m looking to my stack to make my next choice.

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Besides the stack of 17 books you see here, I have the following eReads waiting for me
Things I Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Longbourne by Jo Baker

Honestly, if I read 8-10 of the 25 before school starts again in the fall, I’ll be happy. So, which one should I start with?

Day 61 – And my summer is done

24 Aug

wpid-20140713_085103.jpgSixty-one days is a long time to not be working. I don’t say vacation because my job is such that I get paid for the work I do ten months a year and that pay gets spread over twelve months. When I’m not working in the summer, I’m actually not paid for that time, but it sure feels like vacation and I love it. I consider it one of the many perks of my job. To anyone who begrudges me that summer ‘vacation’, you too could have been a teacher. I don’t apologize one bit for enjoying every bit of that time. Tomorrow I officially go back to work for the 2014-15 school year.

When I started my daily blogging on day one, I mused about how blogging every day might affect my enjoyment of the summer. In fact, I was pretty certain that 2011, the last summer I blogged every day, was an excellent summer in part because of the blogging. Now I know that I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad summer, but I don’t think blogging made it what it was. I usually enjoyed the time spent writing. I’m proud of myself for posting every single day and I’m a bit tired of posting every single day. This summer was good. Nothing bad happened but I wouldn’t call it fantastic, as I did in 2011.

I had big plans to read lots this summer! On day two (no I won’t recap every day) I shared my summer reading list. I read five of the eleven books on my list, well I’m almost finished number five. Of the five, I recommend three booksof them. The first book I read was The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It was okay,  lagged in the middle and was a long story, long enough to be epic, but fell short. It was far less interesting than its title suggests. Then I read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. This was a great YA read that I’d recommend to most of my female friends and my students. It deals with poverty, abuse, bullying and young love. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness was my favourite read of the summer. It was the third in her Discovery of Witches trilogy and I almost never read sequels. This was a most excellent exception. If you like fantasy and historical fiction, this trilogy is for you. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was a light and easy read and it was downright funny. Glenn’s reading it now. I’d recommend this one to anyone who reads; its appeal and target audience is that wide. Right now, I’ve been reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for a few weeks because I had a difficult time getting into it and I had to slug through the second part of it. With about 60 pages left to read I finally want to know how it ends. What drew me to this book was the premise: four strangers meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve on the roof of a tall building with the intention of jumping to their deaths. They don’t jump and the rest of the book is about how they navigate through life and their newfound unlikely and unofficial support group. It’s less interesting than it sounds. I’ll see it through.

I have learned a lot about myself as a writer this summer. While I won’t delve into that too much I’d like to recap my top five posts ICYMI.

  1. Day 14 – Letting Go I wrote about my daughter’s daring summer adventureswpid-img_0301.png
  2. Day 20 – Ten ideas for stories exactly what the title suggests
  3. Day 28 – Namaste was about my path to yoga and what makes it right for me
  4. Day 29 – The end of an era was about the new subdivision being built behind my home
  5. Day 42 – BBQ Meatballs is a family favourite recipe

Each of these have been viewed by over a hundred different readers, so clearly these have proven to be the most interesting posts. Even though each post is dramatically different from the others, they have one thing in common. None of them are about my day, nor are they poetry. Those type of posts got the least traffic. I enjoy writing poetry and will keep doing so. In fact, if you didn’t see my blackout poetry, check it out. I really had fun with it and can’t wait to try it with my students. I always felt like writing about my day was  a bit narcissistic and definitely a cop-out when I wasn’t sure what else to write about, especially when the day wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Now that my 61 days are over, I plan to continue blogging from time-to-time. Now that the summer is over, I’m looking forward to going back to work. I might as well look forward to it and go in with a positive outlook because it’s going to happen either way. It’ll certainly make it more enjoyable.

And thus, without a wing,
or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape,
Into the beautiful.
                       ~ Emily Dickinson

Day 56 – My summer reading list

22 Aug

Fifty-six days ago I began blogging with the intent of writing every day. I’ve missed two (more on that later). My first blog was my summer reading list. Here it is again:

  1. Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
  2. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  3. Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka
  4. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
  5. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  6. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  7. The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
  8. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  9. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

I’ve read four of these, numbers 1, 2, 3 and 7, and I am almost finished another that wasn’t on the list. I’m three quarters of the way through Still Alice by Lisa Genova. It wasn’t on the original list because it’s for book club and we didn’t choose it until the end of July. I’m absolutely loving Still Alice and recommend it to any of my female friends 30 years-old or older. Or, if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you need to read this book.

Pleasure reading usually slows down for me throughout the school year. I’m hoping that I can change that this year, or at least read more than the two novels I read last school year. I’m going to ask my students to keep their own reading lists and I’m going to keep one of my own. Many of my students will put me to shame with the sheer number of books they read. But, if I’m going to ask them to challenge what they think is possible, I need to do the same. So, I’m going to add to my list. Here is the updated version:

  1. Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
  2. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  3. Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka
  4. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
  5. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  6. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  7. The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
  8. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  9. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  10. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  11. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
  12. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
  13. Sold by Patricia McCormick
  14. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  15. Anglea’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  16. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  17. My next book club selection 😉

There is too much to read, and too little time. I’ll have to obtain copies of the rest of the books on my list and take a new photo. There’s something satisfying about a photo of a stack of books I intend to read. I wonder how I’ll do that when some of them exist on my kindle. Maybe I’ll borrow from the library long enough to snap a pic. Maybe I’ll even get my students to photograph their stack of ‘to read next’ books. Do you think that would go over well? Sometimes my idea of fun doesn’t resonate with teenagers.

Day 43 – National Book Lover’s Day

9 Aug

Today is National Book Lover’s Day in the U.S., but, like any other American holiday, I’ll celebrate it if I want to. Today I celebrated by carrying my book, The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent, with me in my purse. I took Seldon and a friend to the movies. I had a few errands to run, but finished before the movie was over. So, while I was waiting, I went to Starbucks, got a strong cup of mediocre coffee and settled into a comfy couch and read while I waited. Okay, to be honest, I did all this before I even realized it was National Book Lover’s Day. I did it because I wanted to.

But, what a perfect opportunity to write about the books I love. My all time favourite book is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. If you haven’t read this book, and you like historical fiction, it’s a must read. It’s an epic novel that spans generations of a church builder and a monk and their families and how their paths and lives intersect. I know, that doesn’t sound interesting, but I promise if you read the prologue, you’ll be hooked.

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson is another book that I always recommend to others, especially female readers. It is the book that convinced my mother-in-law at the age of 76, now an avid reader at 83, that reading really was for her. I loved it; many of my female students loved it. My daughter, mother and husband all loved it, and it actually got my husband reading too. It’s one of those can’t-put-down books. If you’ve read any of Patterson’s Alex Cross books or his murder-mystery stuff, it’s nothing like those. It is uncharacteristic of most of his work.

Another Patterson title that’s uncharacteristic of his writing is The Jester, a novel he co-authored with Andrew Gross. Before reading The Pillars of the Earth, I would have listed The Jester as my all-time favourite. It’s another great historical fiction read.

Those are a few of my favourites, but I have many others that I love. I’m going to leave you with a few lists of books and authors I recommend.

My last four book club reads:

Four just for fun summer reads:

Four of my favourite authors:

Four of my favourite dead authors:

Four of my favourite poets:

“Suddenly I felt the precise body of your poems beneath me,
like a raft, I felt words as something portable again…”
~ Naomi Shihab Nye

Happy National Book Lover’s Day!

Day One – My summer has 62 days!

28 Jun

One of the items on my 40 Before 40 list is to spend at least a half hour writing every day this summer. Today is day one. When writing, a half hour goes by so quickly. I may not write a blog post every day, but write I will! It is a long term goal to write a novel, and I will start that this summer, but I certainly won’t finish it. Half an hour is barely enough time to compose a blog entry.

Today was a busy first day of summer vacation. Of course I slept in! But, what defines sleeping in has changed over the years. I slept in until 8:15 and I wish I had gotten up earlier. I was stuffed up and I tossed and turned from 6:00 until I got up. I might as well have gotten up at 7:00. This morning I went to the gym, then took Seldon to the optometrist and shopping for sandals and a watch. This afternoon I had a mammogram and went to the insurance office. Now it’s a little after 3:00 and I’m rewarding myself with a cup of coffee and a little laptop time.

With all of my time in waiting rooms today I started reading Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom. There were two quotes from what I read today that I think are poignant enough to share:

“The most inspirational man I knew only reached his potential by helping a child reach his.” (pg. 39)

“…faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.” (pg. 44)

I have a long reading list for the summer. They are, in no particular order (after the first two):

  1. Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
  2. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  3. Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka
  4. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
  5. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  6. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  7. The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
  8. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  9. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

If I read them all it’ll be at about the rate of one book a week. My idea of summer fun=as much time as possible spent reading in a deck chair.

Tomorrow’s adventures include trying Yoga for the first time. I’m excited to do that. Any Fredericton Goodlife members want to join me?

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