Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Weeks, 52 Books

I love reading, but it's often one of the first things to go when I start to feel stressed.  It only makes matters worse when I don't make time to read: 1) I become bitter and 2) reading is one of my favorite stress relievers.

For me, like many of my teacher friends, January isn't the time for New Year's Resolutions (we're still in the throes of first semester and are, in no way, in a position to start with a clean slate).  The start of a school year is the time for resolutions.  It's when we're enough removed from the school year that we can make all kinds of promises to ourselves about balance, schedules, acceptance, and grace.

I knew in August that I didn't want my reading life to be consumed by the high school reading list  dictated by my school year (thank God I teach AP!).  I began a much more demanding independent reading assignment for my students this year.  Having read such brilliant teacher-authors as Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher, I knew I needed to be able to recommend books.  To do that, I need to know them; I need to be able to read from them so students can get a taste for what the book is like. If I want my students to read, I need to serve as a model.  I made it my mission to read a book a week.

I came close first semester, but there were certainly times when I fell off.  Here were some of the titles I read this semester:

1. Columbine by Dave Cullen
2. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
3. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
4. Sold by Patricia McCormick
5. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
7. Less is More by Kimberly Hill Campbell (teacher book)
8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
9. The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell by John Crawford
10. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
12. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
13. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
14. Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher (Again. This is also a teacher book.)
15. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

So... I didn't quite hit my goal for independent reading, but I did have to read for school too, so I think it's a wash. :)

Here's my school list:
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Grendel by John Gardner

All in all, that's 20 books in 16 weeks.  Yay!

Goodreads invited me to set my goal for 2014.  So... Here it is... My goal for this year is 52 books. There's some overlap since the new year doesn't align with the new semester.  It'll be lofty, so we'll see what happens! I'd love to read 52 non-school/teaching books, but we'll see.

Here's what's on my list. 

2014 Reading List
1. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
2. Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher (again)
3. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
4. Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins (I love, love, love him!)
5. Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Beers and Probst
6. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (God, it's better every time!)

On My List
-The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
-The Defining Decade by Meg Jay
-The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
-David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (since, you know, I haven't--don't judge!)

I'd love recommendations! What are you reading?


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