Even as busy as library staff can be over the summer months, most still try to squeeze in some time for pleasure reading, and The Hub bloggers are no exception. A few of us have shared what (and where!) we’ve been reading over the last several weeks.
Sharon Rawlins took a reading break with Rachel Hartman’s Shadow Scale, the sequel to 2013 Morris Award winnerSeraphina, in front of the famous Maxfield Parrish Dream Garden mural in the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Laura Perenic read The Devil You Know by Trish Doller’s to some goats at Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Todd Deck read I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, the 2015 Printz Award winner, while on a break from paddle boarding on Whiskeytown Lake in California.
Allison Tran spent some time with an advanced reading copy of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo in “the happiest reading place on Earth,” also known as Disneyland.
Summer is here! It’s been here for a while but there is a something about July that seems to be the prototypical summer month: school is neither just getting out or just about to begin; it’s hot but you aren’t sick of it yet like you are at the end of August; and even the word “July” tends to lend itself to being drawn out in a long, slow, lazy way.
With summer at its height, lots of people are on vacation and there is national focus on reading. Almost every library has a summer reading program and many schools require students to read over the summer. Even people who don’t normally read feel pressure to pick out a good “beach read” for their summer vacations.
So I wanted to know what some of my other Hub bloggers were reading for the summer. Are they reading YA or taking a break and sneaking in – gasp! – an adult book? And are they reading from any interesting locales? Here are pictures that feature your Hub bloggers reading– or the stacks of books they plan on reading this summer.
I’m reading Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins in my little town on Boston’s North Shore: no vacation for me until the summer is over! Luckily for me I live a short, five-minute walk from the beach. There is nothing like the cold New England sea to make you want to read some Southern Gothic YA fiction!
It’s summertime! And if you’re anything like me, that means finding a spot to curl up with a cool breeze, a tall glass of something iced, and a stack of good books. Now, I don’t always match my reading to the season, but sometimes I like my books to feel like an extension of the atmosphere I’m experiencing, rather than an escape from it. Especially if I’m lucky enough to be on vacation (or happily anticipating one); sometimes I want to read all about other people having the same disruption to routine that vacations bring, living outside of their regular schedules. And sometimes, y’know, I just want to savor the season as much as possible: sun, sand, water, just-picked fruits and veggies – celebrate the many incarnations of a summer vacation with the following vacation-themed reading.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Destination: Private island estate
This is the book that prompted the whole list of summer destination-themed titles; I devoured it in a single sitting (with a pitcher of iced tea, natch) and upon finishing was, a) blown away by the plotting – avoid spoilers!- and b) immediately ready for absolutely everything in my life to be summer-themed, because the setting was so deliciously drawn. Cady, our protagonist, is returning to her family’s summer retreat on a private island after spending the last two years away. She is suffering from excruciating migraines and trying to reclaim the easy, uncomplicated rhythms of the vacations she shared with her cousins in summers past, but she’s hindered by memory loss. As the incomplete flashbacks of previous years on the island draw the mystery closer to the dormant truth, the pages go by faster and faster until the truly shocking finale.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Destination: Lakeside cottage
This is the first collaboration between cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki since 2008’s much-lauded Skim (a personal favorite and a 2009 Best Books for Young Adults top ten selection), and like that nuanced, thoughtful graphic novel, this nuanced, thoughtful graphic novel is equally beautiful, with pitch-perfect dialogue and a subdued palette awash in blues and purples. The fully-realized characters are visibly bubbling over with complex, rich emotions, their relationships displayed with all the hesitations and missteps of real life. The gorgeously rendered scenes are alive with all the details of small beach town life; the magnificence of plunging into the water on a warm day, the lazy delights of an afternoon indoors after too much sun, the importance of marshmallows at a bonfire. I swear I could hear the gulls while I read.
While the majority of Hub bloggers are no longer required to do summer reading for school, as life-long readers, we each generally choose to do our own purely for fun. When I asked my fellow bloggers a few weeks ago to come up with quick videos to show the world what we each planned to read this summer, I was not at all surprised that quite a few had a list already building in their heads, and videos appeared shortly thereafter in my inbox.
Are you ready to see what books have made our must-read lists for the summer?
Classics — whether they are novels, plays, or epics — offer us great characters, interesting plots, and lots of things for discussion … but sometimes they can be a little tough to tackle. Sometimes we adore them, but sometimes we can’t get past page 3, let alone the requisite 50. That doesn’t mean that we should give up what they have to offer, though, does it? Many of today’s authors try to use these classic works as a starting-off point to write a more modern version. If done well, these contemporary versions can have a huge impact and impart the same wisdom that made the earlier story gain its classic status. Jessica Pryde and I decided to find and examine some great pairs of classics and their contemporary rewrites to see if they are successful … or maybe not.
This summer, we decided it would be great fun to tackle the movie versions of many of the classics that show up on summer reading lists. In researching classics that had been retold in movie format, we actually found enough to break it down into two posts! Last month, we tackled the Bard’s greatest works, and this month we decided to venture into some other great authors and the modernized versions of their epic works.
The Classic: Emma by Jane Austen
Wealthy, young Miss Emma Woodhouse is bored with her station. In an attempt to make life more exciting, Emma befriends a new, less-well-off girl in the village and seeks to find a great match for her. Emma’s attempts, though, simply lead her from one matchmaking mishap another. When things threaten to spiral completely out of control, it is always the steady voice of her neighbor, Mr. Knightly, that is there to calm Emma’s panic.
Whether you’re a librarian, a parent, or procrastinator not too proud to admit it, you’re probably familiar with the question that comes up around this time of year regarding assigned summer reading. Not just panicked students requesting the books they need, but the slightly desperate plea, “What is this book about?” We put the question to the collective mind of our Hub bloggers, with the added challenge to summarize familiar summer reading classics in the shortest form possible. Here is a round-up of the quirky, clever, and funny responses we got:
From Sarah Debraski with an assist from Paul, some great haiku
The only thing you
need to know is Big Brother
is always watching
(1984 by George Orwell)
Quick, answers these questions as fast as you can….
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Hamburgers or Pizza?
Cats or Dogs?
If you said dogs you may own one of the 78.2 million dogs living in the United States, and if you are anything like I am, then your dog is a member of the family. In these Dog Days of summer where it’s 90 degrees every day, Hubbell and I like to end our walks with ice cream while we lounge in front of the air conditioning. Here are some cool reads featuring awesome canines that will help take your mind off the sweltering temperatures.
What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld with HB Gilmour
Shortly after their police officer father is killed in the line of duty, thirteen-year-old Grace’s older sister decides to adopt a dog to train as a service dog for a handicapped child so that she can write about it for her college applications. But, true to form, it is the grief-stricken Grace who ends up taking responsibility for the dog.
Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce (2007 Best Books for Young Adults)
When sixteen-year-old Beka becomes “Puppy,” she is given to two of the toughest “Dogs” in the Capital, who will teach Beka the ropes — if she survives. Beka Cooper uses her police training, natural abilities, and a touch of magic to help them solve the case of a murdered baby in Tortall’s Lower City.
July is the perfect time to head to amusement parks; not only is it a perfect summer outing, but July is Recreation and Parks Month. The parks are usually packed, the lines are long, and the sun beats down on you.
When I go to a park, I like to plan on which ride or area I’m hitting up first. Now, I fully admit that I like the tamer rides: the Scrambler, the Carousel, the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World, or the rides where you float off into a magical land. I hate being scared, which is why I almost never go on roller coasters. Sometimes my husband guilts me into it. At those rare moments everyone’s screaming with glee except for me; I’m screaming in terror.
But I realize I’m one of the few non-ride thrill seekers. Just in case you’re like me or just in case you want to have the adventure of going to an amusement park, without going to the park itself, here are a few thrilling books to enjoy.
Classics — whether they are novels, plays, or epics — offer us great characters, interesting plots, and lots of things for discussion … but sometimes they can be a little tough to tackle. Sometimes we adore them, but sometimes we can’t get past page 3, let alone the requisite 50. That doesn’t mean that we should give up what they have to offer, though, does it? Many of today’s authors try to use these classic works as a starting-off point to write a more modern version. If done well, these contemporary versions can have a huge impact and impart the same wisdom that made the earlier story gain its classic status. Jessica Miller and I decided to find and examine some great pairs of classics and their contemporary rewrites to see if they are successful … or maybe not.
This summer, we decided it would be great fun to tackle the movie versions of many of the classics that show up on summer reading lists. In researching classics that had been retold in movie format, we actually found enough to break it down into two posts! So this month, we decided to focus on one of history’s greatest authors: the Bard, William Shakespeare. With love stories that have inspired millions and revenge tales that resonate in every culture, it is no wonder that Hollywood has chosen to rework his epic tales again and again.
Some great examples that will make for fun viewing this summer:
The Classic: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
A young prince of Denmark must deal with intrigue in the Court after he is visited by the ghost of his father requesting that he avenge his murder. Along with the ever-present threat of invasion; ridiculousness from his two lackeys, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern; and serious relationship issues with his new fiancee Ophelia, Hamlet has a lot to deal with. Here’s where you get the famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy, guys.
Did you ever realize that The Lion King is a reimagining of Hamlet set in the Animal Kingdom? An “Uncle” who has bumped off the current king and stepped into his position of power … a young prince determined to regain his proper place and to save his mother and people from a power-hungry ruler … complete with award-winning songs and heart-warming lion cub cuteness!
It’s that time of year when high school students everywhere receive their lists of assigned summer reading from next year’s English teachers. These lists are often filled with well-respected classics, but I can’t help but wonder: Where’s the YA?
As I understand it, there are a few possible goals for assigned summer reading. Title selections can be designed to tie into the curriculum and prepare students for concepts that will be covered during the upcoming school year. The assigned books can also introduce students to the Western Canon of literature that college-bound teens are expected to read.
Perhaps the most common purpose of assigned summer reading is to avoid the dreaded “summer reading slump,” a phenomenon in which students backslide academically as their reading habits atrophy over the summer. In other words, teachers just want students to pick up a book and stay sharp!
These are all worthy goals, and I can’t knock the classics. But I have to admit I’d love to see the schools mix up those summer reading lists a little. Some teachers do this already, but I want to see more schools assign YA books alongside the classics.
After all, a contemporary novel written for today’s teens can help fight the summer reading slump just as well as a 100-year-old classic. YA literature may not be in the Western Canon (yet!), but there are so many novels for teens that are rich, complex, and very worthy of literary analysis. Here are a few of the YA titles that top my assigned summer reading wish list.
When Frankie finds out that her boyfriend belongs to an all-male secret society famous for pulling pranks at their traditional East Coast boarding school, she feels excluded and indignant. But more than that, she’s determined to show them up with some truly epic pranks of her own.
This book is my go-to recommendation when a student needs a title for “free choice” reading at school. Teens will be entertained by the clever plot (pranks!) and relate to its smart yet flawed protagonist. And it’s more than a fun read: the thoughtful exploration of gender roles and societal expectations make this title substantial enough for use in an academic setting.