Teachers, we are SO close.
The end of the school year is nigh. Perhaps it’s this week, maybe it’s next, but either way, it’s nearly time to treat yo’self with what all teachers love to do in the summertime:
Take 84 naps, and then start binge reading.
This is what I did when my school year ended a few weeks ago, and after several days of excessive sleep, I started staying up late to finish books guilt-free.
Please forgive me for what I’m about to do to your Amazon carts while I gush over the titles that’ve kept me up until the wee hours, and their friends on my TBR list:
The Circle by Dave Eggers – This book was so plausible that it creeped me out. It’s the tale of an ambitious college grad who lands a job at one of the tech industry’s premier companies, The Circle, who so slowly ingratiate their surveillance, social sharing, and health-tracking apps into her life (and others’) that it seems like no big deal at all–until it is a big deal. This one kept me in suspense until 2 am, when I breathlessly finished it. Similar titles on my TBR include The Handmaid’s Tale, Dark Matter, and The Dinner. Creeptastic!
A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain – I’ve been anxiously awaiting this title since I read the first book in the series, A Murder in Time. Now that it’s here, I’ve already devoured half of its 600-page bulk, most of that on my wedding anniversary, no less. Kendra Donovan is a modern day FBI agent, a genetically-engineered genius who’s an outcast even amongst her fellow elite criminal profilers…or so she thinks, until she’s transported through time to the 1800s and really feels like an outcast. Now, she’s stuck there solving murders without the help of forensic equipment and techniques readily available to her in the 21st century…or any hope of getting home.
I think McElwain’s writing is a great blend of period-accurate details and modern, funny asides, and the story only further serves to suck me in. If you, too, find yourself craving a tale of time-traveling modern women, check out Outlander or the National Book Award finalist News of the World.
Textbook by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – I’ve been wanting to read this book since I read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, but then got even more desperate to do so when I read Rosenthal’s heartbreaking essay in the New York Times, and then about her subsequent death. It’s impossible not to read this book through those lenses, and while it’s amazing on its own, it’s even more powerful as a magnum opus. I also want to check out similar memoirs like The Rules Do Not Apply, Hallelujah Anyway, and Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things
Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentzler – I read this one in two days over Memorial Day weekend, largely ignoring our company to finish it that Sunday. I was sucked in on page one by the beautiful writing and the premise–a teen dealing with the fact that he sent a text message that led to the deaths of all three of his best friends–and I asked my friends if they’d read it. “I did,” Amy volunteered. “It ripped my guts.” And boy, did it. This was one of the first YA reads I’ve picked up lately that I really just couldn’t put down. I’d love to see how The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, A List of Cages, and The First Time She Drowned can measure up to this book.
Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers & Bob Probst – Lisa has been so effusive about this book that I just had to go ahead and start reading it, even though I’ve been trying to wait until everyone else in the Book Love Summer Book Club dives in. But it’s so darn readable, and such a great refresher of a lot of the research I’ve read and loved. I always enjoy Beers and Probst for helping synthesize their wide reading into a crucible of new ideas. Other fabulous pedagogical reads on my TBR list this summer are Joy Write, No More Telling as Teaching, and Write What Matters.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – This book hit home for me, and at quite a short length, I read it in one day–about half of it while on a treadmill! It’s the memoir of a neurosurgical resident who, near the end of his grueling training, finds out he has advanced stage cancer. My husband is entering his fourth year of orthopedic residency, so I read this book with a blend of horror at its possibilities and admiration for its author’s poise and eloquence. My gushing over it led to lots of our resident friends reading it with similar amounts of waterfall-like tears. After reading it in an afternoon, my hubby asked for some more books like it, so I ordered him Being Mortal, The House of God, and The Buddha and the Borderline.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – I listened to this now-famous (in teacher circles, anyway) book on audio, and found myself driving or walking in circles so I could hear more faster. What impressed me most about this book wasn’t its nuanced treatment of the topic of police shootings, or its awesome one-liners, or its many layers of issues faced by its narrator, Starr. No, what impressed me most was how authentic to Angie’s life and personal history it seemed. After reading Between the World and Me, I learned a great deal about the roots of African-American empowerment and efforts for equality. Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, James Baldwin, and more had been strangers to me before that book, but I saw them come up again and again in The Hate U Give.
This terrific book definitely broadened my worldview, and to help it grow more, I’d also like to read American Street, All-American Boys, and Allegedly.
What’s kept you up late reading lately? What’s next on your TBR? Please share in the comments…so we can all go broke buying books!!
Shana Karnes teaches sophomore, junior, and senior preservice teachers at West Virginia University. She finds joy in all things learning, love, and literature as she teaches, mothers, and sings her way through life…and in the new knowledge that she has ANOTHER baby girl on the way!! Follow Shana on Twitter at @litreader.