Summer Reading

When I was a kid, my parents would sign my sister and I up for summer reading at our local public library each year. It is one of those few childhood memories that I still have, and my participation perhaps instilled in me a life-long love of books.

This summer, I will be volunteering a few hours each week with our local library’s summer reading program for kids. I fully support the role of public libraries in our communities to bring reading to the masses (and other free community events). I am hopeful I can play a small part in helping a group of children this summer develop a life-long passion for books.

Our local library also has a summer reading program for adults, which I am equally excited about. There are events featuring award-winning authors, free writing workshops and great literary-themed prizes to be won for reading and reviewing books. I am especially looking forward to taking my place in a camp chair on our apartment’s balcony — with an amazing forest view I might add — and relaxing with a good book.

Here are the books on my summer reading list:

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward: The 2011 recipient of the National Book award, this novel about the bonds of family and community is set on the Gulf Coast in the time immediately preceding, during and in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: An allegorical novel about a young Andalusian shepherd who travels to Egypt following a recurring dream about finding treasure there, this book is one of the best-selling books in history and holds the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: A debut novel about a young woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others as she struggles to deal with her own difficult past.

The Last Man by Mary Shelley: First published in 1826, an apocalyptic science fiction novel about a future world ravaged by plague, written by the author of Frankenstein.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman: An ethnographic narrative of an immigrant family dealing with epilepsy and their encounters with American medicine, I originally read this book over 10 years ago for a medical anthropology class in graduate school and am contemplating using it as a textbook in a class I am teaching this fall.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: A 2012 memoir about a young woman’s 1,100 mile journey to self-discovery, I often feel I am one of the few people who hasn’t yet read this book.

What’s on your summer reading list?

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12 Responses to Summer Reading

  1. A.M.B. says:

    What lovely memories to have! I loved Fadiman’s book, which I read for the first time in college and re-read last fall (my reactions were somewhat different now that I’m an adult). I recommend it to anyone who serves clients from diverse backgrounds (medical staff, lawyers, teachers, etc).

  2. candice says:

    I am a big fan of The Alchemist, and don’t worry, I haven’t read The Wild yet either.

  3. Sadly, I don’t have a summer reading list, but I sure will enjoy reading your posts about yours!

  4. desperatelyseekingspock says:

    I’ve got Wild on my list too!

  5. Amber says:

    I found The Language of Flowers through the Clark County library page and so have that on my list as well. Your reading challenge gave me some great suggestions too! I love lists! Love your blog Becky. I hope for nothing but good things for you 😉

    • Becky says:

      Thanks, Amber! I am a big fan of lists as well. Admittedly it was a challenge to narrow down my summer reading list. There are so many books out there I want to read.

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