My Convertible Life

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday's Five: Good Reads

As a kid, I spent summers at the library with a big cardboard box. Fill the box, read the books, return the books, repeat. I don't know for sure how often we went, but in my memory it was a weekly trip. I loved the summer reader programs because I could fill the chart after chart with stickers representing all the books I'd read.

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:
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


  1. I've only read one of the books above (The Handmaid's Tale) but I'll share one of my recent reads. "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See is an excellent book. It is her most recent book and in June my friend Beth and I had the opportunity to go to a book talk and signing by her. Fascinating lady. I've also ready "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" and "Peony in Love" by the same author. Snowflower is great, Peony is a little odd, but still compelling. All books are available at your local bookstore or, of course, the library.

  2. I love John Irving.

    On my list, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


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