My Summer Reading


If I had a dollar for every time some asked me what I’m reading (or if I can spot their kid a point or two to qualify for HOPE), I would almost be able to afford to buy all of the books that I want to read. In reality I usually answer the “what am I reading question” with “I’m reading essays” because if an English teacher is doing his or her job correctly, there’s not a lot of time for reading for fun. However, it’s sweet summertime in Georgia which means along with days at the pool, Braves baseball, grilled hot dogs, and Arnold Palmers, come pleasure reading. (The above picture is a real Wheat Thin cracker in the shape of Georgia that I came across during my summer reading).

Sharing my summer reading list is one of the most vulnerable things I’ve done on my blog because books people choose to read tell a lot about them. Some of you will think I don’t read enough Christian books; others will think I read too many Christian books. Some will judge me for reading books with cuss words in them; others will wonder why I don’t read more classic literature. As you see, this is really a bearing of my soul, but here goes:

David and Goliath (Gladwell) – I finished this book the first week after school and have wanted to read it for a while. I LOVE (yes, I’m yelling) Malcolm Gladwell even though this is not my favorite of his. This book forces the reader to think about why the perceived underdog often has advantages. I thought some of the chapters were very insightful and will probably go back and read them again. However, if you’ve never read a Gladwell book, read Outliers and What the Dog Saw before this one.

Firefly Lane (Hannah) – A friend gave me this true beach read which chronicles the friendship of two women across several decades. I flew through it and loved reading something strictly for fun. This book also made me think about friends I’ve had through the years and how valuable long term friendships are.

Seven (Hatmaker) – This has been on my list for a while, and I will finish it by the weekend. The book is a diary of an experiment the author conducted in an effort to eliminate excess in her life. Each month focuses on a different area (food, clothing, media, etc.) where the author drastically scales back and hopes to create more room for God, her family, friends, and herself. While the topic is serious, Jen Hatmaker is funny, and the book is both convicting and humorous. Scott and I constantly struggle with how much we have versus how little most people in the world have and wonder what an appropriate response should be. We hope this book will continue to challenge us in the struggle.

The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas) – Shame on me being an English teacher and never reading this book. That will change this summer.

World War Z (Brooks) – I love dystopian lit and having zombies in it makes it even better. There, I said it. Judge away; I don’t care.

The AP Vertical Teams Guide for English (College Board) – Yes, I’m excited to read this and think about how to make NGHS’s English classes more vertically and horizontally aligned (Nerd Alert).

The Things They Carried (O’Brien) – I like to read one modern classic per year, and this is my pick. I’m hoping to add to my AP curriculum next year.

The Fault is in Our Stars (Green) – I have to appear somewhat cool on the first day of school when I talk about my summer reading. Again, judge if you want, but this is my pick. If I have leftover reading time, I may even read Divergent (gasp).

Don’t Waste Your Life (Piper) – I read this every year before school starts to remind myself that if I am only about commas and themes, I have wasted my life. This year will be about my tenth time through the book, and it will continue to speak to me.

That’s my list, and I’m sticking to it, at least until I go to Barnes and Noble next time when it may slightly change.

What are you reading this summer?

11 responses to “My Summer Reading

  1. Gladwell is starting to grow on me. Outliers was pretty good, but I liked Tipping Point best of all. And Blink looks like it would be very interesting.

    Laura and I are both reading Dracula to each other. I’m currently reading The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. I finally finished Love Wins by Rob Bell. Bell, as you know, is a pretty controversial guy, but I thought he some good things to say in the book. I recently finished the Shining by Stephen King. May need to get some counseling if I read more of his books, but he is an excellent writer. I would also like to tackle another CS Lewis book or Two. Maybe The Weight of Glory.

    • Sounds like a great list! Be prepared for some sleepless nights with Dracula 🙂 it’s intense. I have Stephen King’s book On Writing if you ever want to borrow. It’s part memoir and part writing instruction (and part bad language). I think our next family dinner read will be a C.S. Lewis book; it’s hard to go wrong with him.

      • I’ve been reading King’s On Writing over the past year and it’s been a big help. Once I maneuverd through the landmines of F-bombs, I found he has some great things to say. I liked what he said about being truthful in your writing and how a story is like a fossil a writer has to dig out. Good stuff!

  2. I read 7 twice this year and have tried to learn and grow with ea chapter. One outcome for me is the challenge to not buy any clothes/shoes/accessories for myself this year and give more in multiple areas. Challenging indeed. I’ve since bought Interrupted but I’m scared to start it 🙂

    • Application is the hard part because I read it and want to do everything which is unrealistic. I didn’t buy any clothes for 6 months after reading A Year of Living Like Jesus which I do think has made me think much more before I buy something. However, my closet is in desperate need of a cleaning, and I am sure I will once again be convicted. We’re all on a journey . . .

  3. I LOVE reading Malcolm Gladwell and really enjoyed his “David and Goliath” book. I heard him speak at Catalyst 2013 and really connected with his. I read John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” and really enjoyed hearing him (via internet) speak about it at a Passion conference. Great clip: Thanks so much for your posts. I really enjoy them.

    Here are the books I have read recently which mean a lot to me.

    • Scott and I volunteered at that Catalyst, and I remember everyone getting David and Goliath. I saw that you read Blink. Have you read the Tipping Point? I preferred that over Blink. I’m a huge Piper fan and had the privilege of hearing him first give this message at One Day in 2000 – seems like forever ago. I would love to talk to you sometime about your leadership class as student leadership is a passion of mine.

  4. I tend to get bogged down in various non-fiction which I never finish. Recently, I’ve been in Camp Hawkins where I had little time for reading. Before that, I was doing some meticulous reading of the Book of Revelation along with some of Andrew Miller’s Short Papers of Church History, along with some of the writings of St. Ignatius. Before that, I read a good bit of John Eldredge’s Beautiful Outlaw, and I occasionally return and read another chapter when I want to lighten the mood. The once-a-week, oral re-read of Dracula was going well until I got a cold, then Scott got a cold, then I left for my trip. Back on that soon. Of your list, I’ve only read Outliers and Count of Monte Cristo. Lots of people love COMC, but while it is a good read, it struck me rather as a treatise on revenge. Maybe I’m missing something. I’m glad to get a list of enjoyable reads. I’m going to check into a few of these today and download one to my Kindle. Thanks!

    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only all-over-the-place reader. I am typically in the middle of several books. Your reading list sounds much more academic than mine!! I’ll let you know what I think about COMC and would love to hear about Camp Hawkins sometime.

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