What Are You Reading?

I don’t know about you, but I have a few things on my plate right now. If the number of tearful, fretted, “I can’t do ALL of this” conversations I’ve had in the last few weeks are any indication, your plates are pretty full too.

Teaching does not look kindly on a work/life balance, and I’ve spent 15 years trying. And while minimizing these very real demands on our time doesn’t make any of them go away, take less time, or command less of our attention, I personally could use a little check-in on my reading life.

The first few weeks of school, when establishing a workshop routine in my classroom, I teach students about the brain benefits of reading, the academic benefits of reading, the stress reduction associated with reading, and then…I find myself struggling to find time to read. Well, that’s not true. I find the time, and then I fall asleep. No book is to blame. It’s me. I’m tired. I also feel that I can confidently speak for most of you, in that you’re tired too.

What we need, in my humble opinion is a little book club-esque support. I often have my students quickly share with each other what they are reading in order to promote expanding community around a reading life, provide opportunities to grow our classroom libraries through bankruptcy inducing book purchases, and just talk about books to build excitement around books. It’s fast, it’s easy, and for bibliophiles like you and me, it’s exciting.

Now it’s our turn.

I’ll start:


I’m reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and it is SO good. Dystopian in a fresh way (ironic when related to a worldwide flu pandemic!), this story weaves together the lives of several intriguing characters across decades, miles, before the fall of world civilization, and after.

I’m loving the author’s style as she reveals details to start a chapter, but jumps back in time to provide the context. This book is uplifting, soul-crushing, page-turning literature. Seriously…it makes me realize that my full plates might  not be so bad after all, if the alternative is the Georgia flu which arrives on a plane from Moscow and wipes out 99% of the world’s population.

Your turn! Let’s talk about books! #3TTReads

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  3. Tweet your current read and/or a photo of your own shelfie on Twitter, @3TeachersTalk with #3TTReads

Can’t wait to catch a glimpse of your reading lives!

Lisa Dennis teaches English and leads a department of incredible English educators at Franklin High School near Milwaukee. Along with Station Eleven, Lisa is finally reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It is her sincere belief that we become better readers two books at a time. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LDennibaum 


18 thoughts on “What Are You Reading?

  1. […] talks are an essential way for teachers and students to discover new treasures hidden in classroom libraries, but they aren’t the only […]


  2. […] talks are an essential way for teachers and students to discover new treasures hidden in classroom libraries, but they aren’t the only […]


  3. […] talks are an essential way for teachers and students to discover new treasures hidden in classroom libraries, but they aren’t the only […]


  4. teachreadmom October 24, 2017 at 8:07 pm Reply

    I am listening to Hillbilly Elegy on my drive. I find it so fascinating, and now I understand all the talk that has come from the book.

    I am reading Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley. This was a fun read I started over Fall Break. I adore her books that blend current and past timelines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa Dennis October 25, 2017 at 7:36 am Reply

      Ooooo! Hillbilly Elegy was on my list. I must put it back toward the top. Perhaps on Libby… 🙂 Thanks for commenting and sharing your insights!


  5. Angelique Jackson October 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm Reply

    I have quite the eclectic pile, and I do mean pile. For class, A Deadly Wandering (non-fiction), Mountains Beyond Mountains (non-fiction) and The Things They Carried. I am reading Peace in Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist mindful living) and just for me, just for smiles, just to breathe, I am reading Alice Walker’s Chicken Chronicles as I sit and listen to my new chickens purr and chuckle.


  6. Shana Karnes October 20, 2017 at 5:39 am Reply

    GASP!!! Station Eleven is SO GOOD! I loved it! I am thrilled you are reading it!!!

    Like you, I read a whole bunch but rarely finish things because I fall asleep. So, here’s what I’m reading:

    Hunger by Roxane Gay: I’m reading it on my Nook, so right before bed, so even though it’s insanely compelling and haunting, I am still working on it. Highly recommended memoir.

    The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson: This is my recliner book, which stays in the living room on the coffee table and I can read in small chunks. It’s a really funny and nerdy and fascinating history of the English language, and a good piece of nonfiction to come and go to.

    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: I started this one for book club about a month and a half ago, and it landed on my bedside book pile, then got shoved to the bottom. I really want to finish it, because duh, but I also want to finish it when I can get immersed in it. Hoping to get to do this when baby arrives and I’m not working/teaching. But also, that seems like an insane thing to hope for: mental stability when baby arrives. Hahahaha.

    I am also like 20 pages into The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, but I feel guilty every time I try to read it because I usually have some horribly unhealthy processed snack in my hand so I get a complex while reading it; and The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy, which is a teaching memoir, so I feel like chunks are fine; and Renew by Shawna Coppola, which I try to read a chapter of, digest, and then return to; and like 3 sentences into the introduction to Embarrassment by Tom Newkirk, which I had to force myself to put down because I knew if I didn’t I’d be sucked into it and not get anything done.

    So that’s my reading life. It’s a hot mess, like my real life. Hahahahaha.

    Thanks for this post, Lisa!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sonja October 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm Reply

      I read over my maternity leave! Some people sort of smiled condescendingly when I thought I could read. Honestly, that was the thing that kept me awake when she would take SO LONG to feed in the middle of the night. A caution: I started with Challenger Deep, which was all about a kid’s relationship with mental illness, and his relationship with his parents–I was way too sleep deprived and emotional about trying my best to raise a healthy baby for that. So, I read a few cookbooks and food memoirs. I liked Something To Food About by Questlove, on my library app. That, and Preserving By the Pint–the repetition of the recipes made reading comprehension not so important in the middle of a long night. Enjoy reading, and enjoy baby time!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lisa Dennis October 23, 2017 at 9:12 am Reply

        I read SO much on maternity leave and the subsequent hours spent pumping in a tiny office next to the boys locker room (I NEEDED something to distract me from those overheard conversations. Ugh!). Thank you so much for commenting, Sonja! My too read list is getting LONG. 🙂


  7. gstevens1021 October 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm Reply

    Finally finished Americanah and now reading Turtles All the Way Down so that I can pass it off to a student who’s anxious to read it. Next on the TBR list is Dear Martin. Read the first chapter before giving it to a student and wow! I need a month off to keep up with all the great books on my list😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa Dennis October 23, 2017 at 9:13 am Reply

      I love the motivation of “hurry up and read because a kid needs it”! I get into this boat all the time and it really pushes me forward. Thank you for commenting!


  8. vgpratt October 19, 2017 at 1:27 pm Reply

    Constantly trying to keep the plates spinning since I’m also working on my doctorate. My current books (I teach elementary middle grades):
    For class: The Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol
    Reading with eyes: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
    Reading with ears: The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    I love your blog! Thanks for the work you do! 🙂


  9. mrsturnerblog October 19, 2017 at 9:54 am Reply

    Oh yes. The end of the quarter is tomorrow. I have a pile (a PILE) of things that must be graded this weekend before grades are due on Monday. It’s also Homecoming Week, so CRAZY.

    So what do I do in the face of all of this? Read. Complete guilty pleasure pulpy reading. Reading that I’ve already done, in fact, but that I’m doing again because…READING. One of my favorite pulpy authors (Kay Hooper–think of it as a cross between Criminal Minds and Ghost Whisperer) is releasing her newest book soon. She writes in trilogies, and this new book will be the third in the 6th set of threes. Since Oct 2, I’ve been reading the first 17 books. I’m on book 6 now. They’re pulpy and they take me probably 2 days to read and I’m getting WAY less sleep than I need, but I need the release and the pleasure and the joy. SO I read.

    In class we’re reading beautiful memoirs in AP Lang (“Joyas Voladoras” and “This is not the last dance” and their ilk) and in Eng 11 we’re reading “The Yellow Wallpaper.” But at home and just for me, I’m reading about a small division of FBI agents who also have paranormal abilities and use them to help them solve crimes. Today’s book is Sense of Evil and I can’t wait to get back to it. 🙂

    (And Station Eleven is on my TBR list!)
    Thanks! ❤


    • Lisa Dennis October 19, 2017 at 10:08 am Reply

      Ekkkk! Mrs. Turner! I am sending you a big hug. We had homecoming at the end of September. I plan the dance with my partner in crime Erin, and by the end of that week, I was ready to crawl in a hole! I LOVE all of the titles you drop here. The list grows. Thank you so much for commenting. P.S. I am stealing your word “pulpy.”


      • mrsturnerblog October 19, 2017 at 10:24 am Reply

        I love you back! I’ve been feeling guilty about my pulpy reads, but they’re my stress relief. I’ll be in the hole with Prom planning in the Spring, so I hear you. 🙂 Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lisa Dennis October 23, 2017 at 9:14 am Reply

          No guilt! No guilt! If kids read on a roller coaster, so do we. Pulpy reads for the win!


  10. blog0rama October 19, 2017 at 8:40 am Reply

    I’m reading a mix of book club choices (mostly fluff, but sometimes necessary), and listening to podcasts to cleanse my mental palette. Station Eleven was a transformative book for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa Dennis October 19, 2017 at 9:04 am Reply

      Thanks for posting! Fluff is absolutely necessary. Brains need candy too.

      Liked by 1 person

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