JG: It’s almost summer! Time for sun, sleep, and – of course – reading. Last summer I read a lot, but it was mostly within my comfort zone; lots of sci-fi, mysteries, and YA. This year, I’d like to stretch myself a bit.
So here are the rules for the self-imposed summer reading challenge:
1. Read from the Hopkins Summer Reading List
2. Fulfill the Summer Reading requirements: three books I haven’t read before, plus the books for my grade. Since my advisees will be 10th graders next year, I’m going to read along with them.
3. No genre books. No fantasy, sci-fi, mysteries, or graphic novels. There is nothing wrong with reading and loving these kinds of books, but I read them all the time, and the point of this is to try something new.
So what am I going to read?
- Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell (10th grade required book)
- The Great Train Robbery, by Michael Crichton (AC2 required book)
I’ve read The Great Train Robbery before (as a 10th grader), but it’s been long enough that I plan to re-read it.
After this, the list gets a little murkier. I plan to read one classic novel, one work of contemporary fiction, and one nonfiction book. Here’s the short lists:
- Classic: Something by Jane Austen (Emma? Sense and Sensibility?), The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, or I, Claudius, by Robert Graves.
- Contemporary: The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood, A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan, or Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain.
- Nonfiction: Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond, or Encounters with the Archdruid, by John McPhee.
There. Nine options which will condense into three books (though I can read more if I want to!), plus the two grade-required books for a total of 5.
…That’s not enough.
So here’s the other books I’d like to read this summer. No restrictions. Which means ghosts, murder, and explosions.
- Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie.
- The Shadow Throne, by Django Wexler.
- The Alienist, by Caleb Carr (yes, this is on the Summer Reading List. But it’s a mystery, so it doesn’t count for my personal challenge. But you can read it!)
- All of the Peter Grant books, by Ben Aaronovitch. I’d read the first one (Midnight Riot) a couple years ago, but on a recommendation from Ms. Ford I’ve been listening to it on audiobook, and it is fantastic. This summer I am going to walk everywhere and listen to the whole series. Or at least the next few books.
No plan survives the first encounter with the library catalog, so I’m sure there will be additions and subtractions as the summer goes on. But as of right now, I’m pretty happy with this list!
JB: We aren’t counting down the days until summer (25) or anything, but seriously, summer. While some consider sunscreen to be a summer necessity, I carry a book/kindle/device with kindle app at all times. Last summer I did not have as much time to read as anticipated, but this summer I feel cautiously ambitious. I don’t have any challenges, per se, but I do hope to read more diversely than usual.
Here are my 2015 Summer “Challenges”:
- Read from the Hopkins Summer Reading List.
- Read more dudes (I tend to read a lot of female authors).
- Read fewer white people. I usually do O.K. with this, but I am making a conscious effort this summer.
- Don’t restrict by genre or type. I want to mix in some older stuff, non-fiction, and genre with my FAVORITE type of book – the modern fiction novel.
What will I be reading? Take a look
As Mr. Gette said, I have free reign for anything I want to read off the summer reading list. To also cite Mr. Gette, I doubt I will follow this list as closely as a needlepoint pattern.
- Missoula, by Jon Krakauer
- Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick
- An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews
- The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
- The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
What are you planning to read this summer? Did you set any goals or challenges for yourself? Tell us in the comments!
-Signing off, Jenny Barrows and James Gette (the former already suntanned, the latter already sunburned)