Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer 2014 Reading List

Going into each season of the year it's fun to pick out the books I'm looking forward to the most. Plus, making a list means I'm might actually get to them...but not guaranteed! I made a list of twelve books to read for Winter 2014 and got around to all of them except for one! That's a personal record as far as following a reading list goes.

So here are the fifteen on my radar, in no particular order:

Now to decide which one I should read first?!

1. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards
This was the one book from my Winter 2014 post that I didn't finish, so it only seems right to carry it over here. It is on my TBR Pile Challenge, so I will get around to it, but I have a feeling it may end up toward the bottom of this summer reading list.

2. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
Between those who have read this book and/or saw the movie, I've heard it is rather complicated to follow at the start, but worth the effort! It is on my Chunkster Challenge, which is a plus. Also, I want to watch the movie with a good friend who goes through movies like I do books. (He has a movie blog, JoeMama's Movie Reviews. He owns thousands of movies...it takes us an hour to go through his cases to decide what to watch. We call him JoeFlix.)

3. Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
A big title in YA recently that I want to put on my classroom shelf come September, so I thought I'd like to read it first. You know, while it is still clean and in one piece.

4. Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes
Another book with rave reviews, as well as an author who receives rave reviews herself. (Is there a better way to praise a book than say it had "rave reviews"?) This one and any of her other titles sound promising based on what the majority of people have to say about Moyes's storytelling and writing.

5. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
There's gotta be a humdinger of a classic on the list, right? If I don't read it during the summer, I'm afraid I won't be able to give it the attention it needs during the busy school year. I made sure to do this with The Count of Monte Cristo last summer and it worked much better than when I read Les Mis (unabridged) three months into the school year the year

6. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.
Another classic, but one long overdue for me. I teach Steinbeck every year in American Literature, so I should probably be more familiar with one of his most culturally known works. Not to mention, the Great Depression/migrant worker theme will match up nicely with Of Mice and Men.


The Uglies series have really creepy faces on the covers.
Although I like them better than the newer covers,
I keep them covered up sitting in my room. Creepy.

7. Uglies series, by Scott Westefield
This is a series of four YA books I brought home from my classroom shelf for the summer: Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras. The idea is that everyone is born ugly and has major cosmetic surgery at age 16 to make them pretty. The series has an obvious storyline, a problem with the surgeries, etc., but "the true thrust of the story is that individual freedoms are far more important than the need for uniformity and the elimination of personal will" (Wikipedia). The Big Brother vibe comes into play with this dystopian sci-fi, so I'm happy to see it's YA with a deeper meaning.

8. Matched trilogy, by Ally Condie
Also from my classroom shelf: Matched, Crossed, and Reached. At age 17, the dystopian society of Matched does just that...they are each matched up with a member of the opposite sex. Their lives are completely controlled by the government and so you know where this is going...yep, rebellion. Good old Katniss style, whose Hunger Games series came out two years before Matched. But that's okay, I'm getting the full timeline of rebellious female characters, since Tally in Uglies dates back to 2005, three years before Katniss.

9.  Miss Peregrine's & Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs
Again, more rave reviews, which I thought, "okay, sure" and promptly handed my classroom copy off to a number of students to guinea pig it for me. I kid you not, every single one came back loving it. Still, I put it off. Hollow City came out and those same students begged me to get it. When I started seeing great reviews for it, I decided to buy it. When a senior wrote to tell me that handing him Miss Peregrine's the year before made him start reading again, I decided to bring them home to read for the summer. (See, my students do come in handy. I use them to guinea pig all the new YA material, so I can only read what seems most worth it!)

So there you have it...a most ambitious list that doesn't include books I've taken for review, or the three intriguing nonfiction e-books I purchased a week ago, or the other books on my TBR and Chunkster Challenges, or the nine other books sitting on my dresser haunting me nightly, or the bookshelves I pretend I don't see.

Oh dear Lord. Help me.

31 comments:

  1. I have read only The Grapes of Wrath and it is a great book.
    Hope you enjoy your summer reads!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really looking forward to Grapes of Wrath! I've liked all other Steinbeck I've read. Glad to hear you liked it.

      Delete
  2. Ambitious, but awesome, list! I haven't done so well on my last couple of seasonal TBRs but I'm hoping to make a dent this summer. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I'm already anticipating that I won't get through it because I really need to read the chunksters before school starts! Or I'll get bogged down in chunksters and read the others! Lol. We'll see...this past January was the best I ever did with a list.

      Delete
  3. Stopping by from Steadfast Reader--Of the books on your list, I've read Memory Keeper's Daughter (really good!), Eleanor & Park (one of the best books I read last year), Grapes of Wrath (OMG! I still remember the summer when I read this--I was totally immersed in that book!), and Me Before You (also really good!).
    You have some great reading ahead of you--enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and totally getting me more excited for those books!

      Delete
  4. I think you have a great bunch of books lined up. I have read just the first book in both the Uglies and Matched trilogy - both I enjoyed, but have yet to progress with either series. Also, Miss Peregrine's is a book a read last year and absolutely loved, although there are some points that are a tad far fetched, however it was a great read that I'll return to again. I have yet to read Hollow City, I'm waiting for the paperback to be released.

    Eleanor & Park is also on my radar for the summer. I was hoping to read it this month, however I don't see that happening now based off my reading habits of recent.

    I hope you get round to completing your TBR!

    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear the beginning of those series are good. I've had them in my classroom for awhile and want to know what they're about so I can promote them to students I know will enjoy them.

      Delete
  5. You can do it! Great list...I read THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER a while back. I think you'll like it.

    I'd love to get my TBR pile down to a more manageable "stack." No less than 50 in it currently. I have been disappointed in a couple that I started recently. One I just stopped - I'll probably go back to it at some point and try again, but right now, I'm knee deep in trying to keep the good literary suspense TBR's at the front of the line..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely have to go with the flow...and with what will help your writing too! I'm currently reading Cloud Atlas and it's slow moving, so I might have to put it down and come back.

      Delete
  6. Looks like a great list, although I had to give up on Cloud Atlas, just not the book for me. I love that your titles are a mix of old and new. Best of luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Funny you mention Cloud Atlas...I started with it and I'm finding it slow progress. I really might have to come back to it after some other books get me moving again.

      Delete
  7. I love that you can guinea pig your books out like that! I too keep passing over the Miss Peregrine books but I'm not sure that there is bigger praise for a book than that it's the one that made someone love to read again! You should read Eleanor & Park or Me Before You first! Although I do really like the idea of those Uglies books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cloud Atlas is really making me think I need to read another one first! So, I'll take you recommendation and read Me Before You or E&P (or both of them) first!

      Delete
  8. Great list!! I'm excited to see what you think of Eleanor and Park. Also, I read the first book in the Matched series, but never read the second two. Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you like Matched? Think I'm going to read E&P now because it gets so many votes of confidence!

      Delete
  9. I read Crime and Punishment last year. It was a long term project, but the ending will blow you away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good! I know it might be tedious at times and take time to read, but I've heard it's worth it!

      Delete
  10. Such great picks!! I've been eyeing the Matched series, just because I'm a sucker for dystopian. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, me too. I think it's cause the good guys always win in the end and it makes dire situations seem hopeful!

      Delete
    2. I've read the first book in Matched - but was never compelled to finish the trilogy - that's not to say it was BAD... I just never happened upon the other two.

      Delete
  11. Lots of wonderful on your book list. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I will - fingers crossed! I've already gone off the list, go figure.

      Delete
  12. Let me know how Hollow City is... I read Miss Perigrine's and I found it okay... but not enough for me to pick up the sequel. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll definitely review them both. I'm a little skeptical - totally going on what people have said with these ones.

      Delete
  13. What a fantastic list, lots of variety! I'm excited for all of your reviews :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to talking about some of these already!

      Delete
  14. I'm excited to read Eleanor and Park sometime soon. Me Before You made me sob like a baby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm reading Me Before You next - after Cloud Atlas that is. My sister wants to know if it's any good, mostly because the author's name is JoJo and that was her nickname growing up. But I've gathered anything JoJo Moyes will suffice!

      Delete
  15. Read The Memory Keeper's Daughter first, so you can tell me how it was. I have Me Before You, but I still haven't read it. It's been a while. I hope you enjoy your summer reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had my copy of Me Before You for awhile too...and The Memory Keeper's Daughter for waaaay longer! Will let you know what I think!

      Delete