It took me a little while to feel inspired to post my Summer Reading List before June’s end. Am I not excited about reading? Sort of the opposite.
As I posted about in My Reading List: Winter 2013 and 2012: Year of the Book, the last year of reading has been so rich that it can be hard to be the next book in line. In the last month, I’ve started and put down half a dozen books.
Just as I thought I was being an irritable reader, Curtis Brown literary agent Jonny Geller tweeted this:
— Elissa Field (@elissafield) June 21, 2013
In that spirit, I’ve made it through my “rebound” books and here is list of the books I’m excited to be reading for summer.
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2013 Releases I am Curious About:
- Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed (May 2013). I found Hosseini’s prior novels — The Kite Runner (2004) and A Thousand Splendid Suns (2008) — stunning. He is on tour, so you might check if he is reading at a bookstore near you. Or, read this New York Times review.
- Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (July 2013). First, what a beautiful title. Second, I’ve heard fabulous things about this slim, adult novel and am motivated to discover why it is Gaiman’s fans think he is so amazing. My copy just arrived in the mail; I’ll let you know how it goes. Or, here’s Benjamin Percy’s review in the New York Times.
- Eleanor Morse, White Dog Fell from the Sky (Jan. 2013). Compared to Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone.
- Ned Beauman, The Teleportation Accident (Feb. 2013). This LA crime noir/scifi novel made the longlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize.
Another 2013 release worth noting (see My Reading List: Winter 2013 ) is Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
- Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies (2012). As mentioned in 2012 Year of the Book, Bring up the Bodies went on my list after winning the 2012 Man Booker Prize, making Mantel the only woman to have won it twice. Mantel writes rich historical fiction. While I’m really enjoying it, I would have preferred to have read her Wolf Hall first, as Wolf Hall takes on Henry VIII’s efforts to marry Anne Boleyn, and Bring Up the Bodies picks up where Wolf left off.
- Colum McCann, Fishing the Sloe-Black River: Stories (1996). I love listening to interviews of McCann for his soft Dublin vowels and his ease with poetic intelligence. He also tops my list of writers I’d love to workshop with, and this collection is one of his books I’ve not yet read. McCann is best known for his award-winning, best-selling Let the Great World Spin, and on current bookstore displays for his summer 2013 release, Transatlantic.
Confessing my literary crush: I have such a thing for Colum McCann. http://t.co/XnO7Q3SlJH
— Elissa Field (@elissafield) June 27, 2013
- Alice McDermott, A Bigamist’s Daughter (). This is the 3rd McDermott novel I’ve read (other 2: Child of My Heart and Charming Billy) — and I am sure her September 2013 release, Someone, will make my fall reading list.
- Matthew Dicks, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend (2012), a novel short-listed for awards last fall, which first sparked my curiosity for its voice: it’s told from the point of view of a child’s imaginary friend.
- Sarah Winman, When God Was a Rabbit (Apr. 2012).
- Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus (2012). I resist the circus theme, but can’t hold out much longer — I’ve heard such great buzz about this book.
- Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home (2012). You had me at the title.
- Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins (2012). You had me at the cover.
Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction:
These are titles I’m reading with my sons, my 5th or middle grade students, or just because I love YA & MG fiction. (For more, here is my Teacher’s Summer Reading List from my teaching blog.)
- Jacqueline Davies, The Lemonade War (2007). This novel was assigned as summer reading for my son, rising to 4th grade, and I was glad for the chance to read it with him as I’d skimmed the book in interest several times before. In addition to a good story, I believe it includes some math connections. Will let you know.
- Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None (1939). Right. It’s not “YA” fiction — but this mystery classic is listed here because I am re-reading it along with my rising-7th grader, as his assigned summer reading. Fun, since I read all of Christie’s books in middle and high school.
- Lois Lowry, The Giver (1994). My rising-7th grader is giving me perfect excuse to finally read this popular, Newbery-winning novel about a young boy in a utopian society. I’d previously read her WWII Number the Stars.
- Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time (1963). I look forward to rereading this long-time favorite by Madeleine L’Engle, which I included among 3 classics on students’ summer reading options (rising to 5th grade). I may reread another on the list: Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins as well.
- Nova Ren Suma, 17 & Gone (2013). I’m excited for this new release by author of Imaginary Girls.
- William Goldman, The Princess Bride (1973). This nearly-cult classic — often best known for the film version out in 1987 — is the topic of conversation for the month of June among a great group of writers I chat with on Twitter (#wschat on Wednesdays). It is likely to become the summer’s first nighttime read-aloud with my boys.
Nonfiction – on writing craft and teaching:
- Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel (2001). As mentioned earlier this week, Wordsmith Studio will be using this book during craft discussions (#wschat on Mondays) July-September. Maass has been a literary agent (and author) more than 25 years, and I’ve been impressed with the insights provoked by his novel prompts. Update: actually prefer his 2012 book: Writing 21st Century Fiction as the end-of-chapter prompts are more immediately useful than Breakout’s discussions.
- Susan M. Brookhart, How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading Assigned reading for me, over the summer.
- Carol Ann Tomlinson, How to Differentiate Instructions in Mixed-Ability Classrooms (2nd edition). Another assigned reading for me this summer. Carol Ann Tomlinson was co-writer of one of my favorite books on differentiation: Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom.
- Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, The Café Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction.
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What Are You Reading?
I’d love to hear your own reading suggestions in the comments. Let us know the favorite books you’ve read this year or ones on your must-reads list. If this inspires you to blog your own list, share link to your post so we can come read with you.
Where do the book links take you?
For convenience, you can click book titles for their link at Amazon — or find them at your favorite indie bookseller through indiebound.org:
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More on Books and Reading:
- March Reading Challenge: The Books You Always Meant to Read
- My Reading List: Winter 2013
- 2012: Year of the Book
- Reading Lists: Nobel in Literature, Man Booker Prize & National Book Award Finalists
- Next on My Reading List: Fall 2012
- What I’m Reading: Summer Reading List 2012
Posts on the Craft of Writing:
- Novel Revisions: Work is Messy, Book May Bite
- Friday Links for Writers 06.28.13
- A “vintage” favorite: Writing Life: A Zen Prompt for Writing Past Blocks
Where Else You’ll Find Me:
- What am I up to on my teaching blog? Teachers Write: An Online Summer Writing Forum for Teachers