They were my kinfolk, my people - many of whom I'm still friends with today, though we've scattered across the country, spilling out in different directions as fast as we could once we'd tossed our graduation caps in the air.

Aimee Nezhukumatathail - World of Wonders

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Reading

Memorial Day weekend is this weekend. Many people including myself see the Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of Summer. Although business as usual will continue at The Izola Becker Home School through mid June, Memorial Day does begin my summer reading plan. I will be reading as many books as I can from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. I hope to read at least 20 books in that time period. A few years ago in my pre blogging days I wrote a So you want to page at Amazon. It was entitled So you want to make a Summer Reading list. You can check it out by clicking here.

If you're not much for clicking here I brought the guide to you:

Keep in mind this was written 5 years ago. So when I talk about the White Sox going to the World Series last in 1959, I was writing it a few months before they returned there in the magic season of 2005. Here we go:

It's summer and you've decided to have a summer reading plan. The question is what are you going to read. My suggestions are formulated for adults but there is really no reason that a student could not adapt these suggestions for their benefit.

I. Buy one book for the purpose of reading this summer and then read it!

One mistake many people make is to buy 8 or 10 books for their summer reading list and then not read any. Right around Memorial Day 2004 I waltzed over to my local Christian book store to find a book to start my summer reading on. I found a sale copy of How Good is Good Enough by Andy Stanley. I had never read anything else of his but the title intrigued me and besides it was short. I don't generally get books based on their size but when starting your summer reading on a short book is not a bad idea for getting that first book read.

II. Read a book that you already own but have not yet read. Once you have the first book under your belt it's not a bad idea to go with a book you own. I received Strength Down the Middle - The Story of the 1959 Chicago White Sox by Larry Kalas for a Father's Day present last year. I was born in 1964 so did not know a lot about the 1959 Sox and found it a very interesting Memoir about the Chi Sox last trip to the World Series.

III. Choose a book from one of your favorite authors that you have not yet read. Many people make the mistake that their summer reading list should be chalk full of books that they should read, and don't put enough books on their list that they want to read. I have been reading Bill Pronzinni books my entire life so I went to my local library and found a nameless detective mystery I had not previously consumed, Hard Case was an excellent entry in the nameless detective series. Which leads me to my next point:

IV. Choose at least one book based on something you just read from your list. I believe a summer reading list should be a living document. Having a preset list that you must adhere to can knock all the spontaneity from your summer. So after I read Hard Case I went to Amazon and looked at all the reviews for it. Many reviewers compared it with Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers. I promptly went to my local library and checked it out. I am so glad I did. Dorothy Sayers is now on my list of favorite authors because of it. For years people have been reccomending Thrones, Dominations to me, and based on how much I enjoyed Busman's Honeymoon, I went and made that the next book on my summer list.

V. Read a biography of a personal hero. Three summers ago I read the Ronald Reagan Biography, . Last Summer I read a biography on Eric Liddell the famous scottish runner and missionary. This summer I think I'll pick up Veeck--As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck. I think it is important to have heroes and even more important to know about them. Emulation is a lost art, and biographies, especially inspirational ones are a way to hone that art.

VI. Read at least one book that you think you should. As I suggested earlier having your summer list full of books you think you should read rather than those you want to read makes a drudgery of the entire ordeal. However the inverse can be just as dangerous. You want to challenge yourself on your reading list. So each summer I read a book that I should have read in high school. Last year it was and this year it will probably be To Kill a Mockingbird . This also falls under my next category and the book I am currently reading:

VII. Read the book if you've seen the movie. I am a big movie buff. So each summer I try to read at least one book based on a movie I've seen. I am currently working on The Three Musketeers .

VIII. Make your list as unique as you are. As you can probably tell from this guide, I am passionate about a wide variety of topics. My summer reading list reflects that variety. Last Summer I read The Dick Tracy Casebook: Favorite Adventures, 1931-1990 because I love comic strips. This summer many of my choices will reveal my interests. It would be difficult to live your life as who you are and then to read who you're not.

IX. Read something based on someone else's recommendation. Some of my favorite books are books that I would have never chosen for myself. In the Summer of 1990, I had to read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Night by Elie Wiesel along with 7 other books for a 4 week literature class. I would have never chosen either of those books in a million years if I was picking on my own. I am very happy that they were both shoved in my direction. Again,there should be tension on your reading list from reading what you are interested in and enjoy to experimentation and expansion of ones horizons.

X. Read!!!!! I made a decision last year after enrolling both my children in summer reading programs to have a reading plan for myself each summer for the rest of my days. We unplug our T.V. each summer for the purpose of going on long walks and enjoying each others company in the fine Illinois summer weather. Reading is definitely part of that summer tradition and I think it should be part of yours as well.

Starting this Friday I will post a mini review for each book I finish this summer. I will also post a Mr. Linky each Sunday for anyone who wants to link their book reviews here. Let the reading begin!

Next Time: Films

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you about keeping some spontaneity in your reading list. I've read so many posts by book bloggers who feel bogged down by stacks of books they feel that they MUST read. Reading books and blogging about them is supposed to be fun, not a chore!