Ok, so I set out to read 50 books this year which is about 30 more than I've ever read annually before, so I should feel good about getting this far. But I hate being behind! I hate that I'm not on pace to reach my goal! I'm trying not to freak out, though, and I'm still going to try to get as close to 50 as I can.
Here are my next 10 titles. It was a time to finish some series, explore new authors, and fill in some gaps (books I should have read long ago but never did). The first 10 are here and the #11-20 are here.
21. Excavation by Wendy C. Ortiz
In the same vein as
Lolita, Ortiz explores how her world shifts when her middle school English
teacher initiates a relationship with her. With occasional notes on her
“excavation” as an adult, we get a break from the intense world of a
teenager struggling to make sense of a life where the adults let her down. A wonderful reminder of how nonfiction can help us make sense of complex colors that shade our relationships.
22. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The second book in the
Divergent series picks up right where the first book ended. Tris must
quickly come to terms with her own decisions and the loss of her parents.
The plot moves quickly and despite some decisions and lies from Tris, the
payoff at the end was worth it.
23. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The third book in the
Divergent series suffered from some slow pacing but I was glad I made it
to the end. Although surprised by the denouement, it makes sense. So much
better than the way The Hunger Games ends.
24. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
This novel is verse is
a book I’ll be teaching for the Engage NY Common Core lessons. Love the
book. It leaves much unsaid and captures just how little I know about the
Vietnam War from the Vietnamese perspective. It’s a beautiful refugee
story of escape, family, and home.
25. if i stay by Gayle Foreman
Read this because one of my
students was reading it for her summer assignment and a huge billboard
went up nearby for the movie, so, why not. The hospital scenes left me
wrecked, especially toward the end when her grandfather lets her go and
then again when she finally decides (spoiler alert) to stay.
26. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A dystopian novel set in a
civilized London where thought or discontent is no longer a necessary part
of life. Sex is entertainment and real connections to others is an
unnecessary inconvenience. This world is set in contrast to New Mexico, where an indigenous culture exists. A savage and his mother who return to London to take in this brave
new world. Parts of this were tough to get through, but I’m glad I read it
to inform the modern dystopian lit I’ve read recently.
27. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
I hadn’t read this
comedy before and since our school is producing it this spring and our
students will all be reading it, we took 75 students to see a free
production in Griffith Park. A quick tutorial from a couple of colleagues,
seeing the performance, and then reading it gave me strong sense of
Shakespeare’s take on the ridiculous
constructs of love and gender.
28. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Hazel hosted a
reading of this on a lovely late summer evening. I played Ariel and
performed Shakespeare for the first time. It was good fun and this final work by
Shakespeare still holds some of the most amazing language and
story-telling. The imperialist messages still hold true 500 years later.
29. A Midsummer Night’s Dream William Shakespeare
So after my little
Shakespeare stint, I realized I hadn’t logged Midsummer which I taught and
saw performed at school last winter. I need books and this counts. It’s
definitely one of my favorite Shakespeare comedies and “Though she is
little, she is fierce” are words to live by even though this cat-fight is over a stupid boy.
30. The Giver by Lois Lowry I’ve been urged to read this
by a former colleague for years and just never got to it. Another
dystopian tale, this world is one without memory or pain. The idea of one
person chosen to receive all of the world’s pain is intriguing and I’m not
sure what I think of the ending. The idea of a world of sameness will haunt me for a while and I'll probably read more in this series.
One 20 more titles to go...