read. a summer reading list.

As you may remember from previous posts my mother is a high school English teacher with a great love for writing and reading (and teaching both). Since she is the expert, I asked her to put together a list of recommendations for us all. It was difficult for her to narrow the list down, I know, but it’s a wonderful place to start if you are looking to start, add to, or revisit summer reading!

TO READ BY BECKY

Favorite books to recommend:

  1. Jane Austen—all of her books are on my must read list, but start with Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility.  These books take me to a different time and place, showing me the foibles of society and the constancy of love. The movies, though excellent, are not replacements.
  2. C. S. Lewis—especially Mere Christianity (nonfiction) and The Chronicles of Narnia (fantasy for children and adults who still remember).  He says things I wish I could say and expresses what is almost inexpressible.
  3. Lois Lowry’s The Giver—I taught this to seventh and eighth grades, but recommend it to adults who missed it.  Many of my students tell me years later that the book was a landmark for them.  It asks us all about our values.
  4. Zora Neale HurstonTheir Eyes Were Watching God. I am thoroughly fascinated by Hurston’s diction.  Hurston depicts love beautifully and unforgettably using southern dialects bound with passages of elegant, poetic description,
  5. Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird. A wonderful story of the summer, the South, the strains of society, and a father who teaches his daughter about life.  No one who lives in Alabama should fail to read this book.

Recent reads that won’t let me go—but take me around the world:

  1. Ishmael Beah—A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.  If you were moved by Slumdog Millionaire, you need to take a look at this one.  This author writes frankly about the life that most of us would rather not imagine, but we need to know.
  2. Azar Nafisi—Reading Lolita in Tehran.  Okay, I know that I am an English teacher, so forgive this one, but this book is part literary analysis, part biography, part culture study.  The author moves back and forth between the books and the book group members in such a seamless way that I could not categorize this work, nor could I put it down.
  3. Barbara Kingsolver—The Poisonwood Bible.  I am steeped in evangelical heritage and ideas, so this book about cultural intrusion challenged me to examine intents, methods, and attitudes involved in cultural exchanges. 
  4. Randy Alcorn— Safely Home. I read this book right after I read the Kingsolver book.  Here was the flip side, and this book made me look at those who are not allowed spiritual, intellectual, or personal choice—who are not allowed to seek truth.
    Similar in subject:  Secret Believers by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen.
  5. Alice Steinbach—Without Reservations.  I love to travel and Steinbach did what many of us dream of doing.  She just left—without a plan—to visit, to explore, to learn, and to experience the world.  I could not do this the way she did, but she offers me a challenge to open myself to chances and choices.

Now Reading:  Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensom and David Oliver Relin.

Curious about:  Gossamer, Lois Lowry’s newest.

A random list of books I can’t leave out:
Don Quixote (Cervantes); The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas); The Princess and Curdie (MacDonald); The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Tolkien); The Blue Bottle Club (Stokes); Redeeming Love (Rivers); and Chasing Shakespeares (Smith);  and ….I have trouble stopping, obviously.

Of the the 29 books listed above, I have only read 15. This should be more than enough to keep me busy for a while. If you have read (or read in the future) any of these, share what you think, and comment below!

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