Summer is so close I can almost taste the morning hot tea, hear the birds chirping on my porch, and feel the pages turning in my hand.  Naturally, being the reading ninja that I am, I have big plans for my summer reading.  How to choose?  So many books!  So little time!  No matter… I shall persevere and sacrifice myself in the name of literature and read as much as possible.

I always have “grown-up” books on my list, but I love to mix in novels that my students are reading or might want to read.  So here’s my list, in no particular order.

First the “grown up” list:

  • The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkein.  I have already read this 3 times, but I cannot wait to dive in again.  Tolkein is a master with symbolism and developing characters, not to mention his deep look into good vs. evil.
  • 1984 by George Orwell.  I have made a habit in the last year of catching up on classics that I missed in my younger days.  I’m ready for this novel to engage my mind on a deep level, so I’m going to need a pencil handy for all the notes I plan to take while I read!
  • 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup.  I am always eager to read about the history of our country, but only if it doesn’t feel like a textbook!  I wanted to watch the critically acclaimed movie, but when I found out the movie was based on this book, I decided to read it first (always my habit when possible!)  I anticipate that this true story will be very difficult to read due to the brutal subject matter; however, I firmly believe that stories of past injustice and wrongdoing are important to know so that we never forget the horrendous atrocities that were committed to an entire race of people.
  • Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.  I read another stunning novel by Barbara Kingsolver years ago entitled The Poisonwood Bible.  Kingsolver’s writing was so powerful, I have always wanted to read another of her works.  I’ve waited a long time, and this is the summer I’m doing it!
  • Xenocide by Orson Scott Card.  The third novel in the Ender’s Game series, Ender Wiggins’ story continues as he fights to save an entire planet from destruction.  To be honest, I have never been much of a science fiction fan (other than Tolkein), but Orson Scott Card is an absolutely brilliant writer.  The depth of these characters, their struggles and their background is hard to describe.  I can’t wait to be immersed into Ender’s highly intelligent world again.

And the “student” list:

  • The Selection by Kiera Cass.  Some of my students have told me about this series, and I must admit it sounds intriguing.  I enjoy futuristic “what if” scenarios, and since I enjoyed the Hunger Games and Divergent, I believe I will be right at home in this novel.
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.  I started reading this in April in preparation for the 6th grade classes to read it.  However, since I was going to teach a different novel, I never finished!  Tragedy!  There is so much to learn from this novel full of figurative language and beauty.
  •  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  The first time I saw the cover of this novel, I was intrigued and wanted to read it.  And from what I’ve heard from respected friends and students, I was right to feel that way.  There’s nothing like a sweet story of friendship.  Any time I am covered in goosebumps just watching the book trailer, I know that it’s a must read.
  • Stargirl and Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli.  No, these are not two books in a series.  They have nothing in common except their exceptional author.  Stargirl sounds like a quirky tale of a teenage girl with some special powers.  Milkweed is the tale of a boy during WWII.  Both have crossed my radar many times, so it’s time to put them both on the list!

Happy reading everyone!  I know I won’t get through all of these in one summer, but it’s important to have a goal.  I challenge you to make sure you have a great novel with you on all your travels this summer!