As a teen-ager, college student and then high school English teacher, summer reading went nearly the same way. Different books, same process (only without the sticker charts). I loved the freedom to devour whatever caught my attention, from classics to trash.
Now that most of my reading involves Curious George and Sandra Boynton's hippos, I like to think back on some of my favorite selections and imagine the things I'll read when I manage to carve out the time. Here's the first five on my recommended reading list (in no particular order) -- more to come on future Fridays:
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Read for a comparative literature class in college. Nearly fell off the bed when I got to the end of the book, it was just that good.
- Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons: Any book that starts this way is bound to catch your attention: "When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy." Taught this as a first-year teacher and still wonder how I got away with it.
- Old Dogs and Children by Robert Inman: Really wanted to name my future daughter "Bright" after reading this sweet and lovely book. Plus Inman was a newscaster in Charlotte, where I was living when I found his novels.
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: My first high school glimpse into the idea of feminism, this story was both terrifying and empowering. The first of many Atwood novels and short stories for me.
- The Cider House Rules by John Irving: Another high school discovery and the first of several Irving reads to make me think about things outside the safety of my own world.