Summer Reading List - Part 1

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

As an English teacher I am constantly reading something whether it's a student's poorly written persuasive essay on why the legal drinking age should be lowered (sigh) or professional literary criticism on the ambiguity of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw

When it comes to books, nine months out of the year I'm usually rereading the great classics such as Fahrenheit 451, The Scarlet Letter, and The Awakening as I work to revamp my lesson plans. But my summer reading lists often look nothing like my syllabus. Here are five of the books I plan to read over the next few months. Tomorrow I'll be back with five more. Let me know if you'd like to read any of them along with me so we can get a little virtual book club going. 

Summer and the City, Candace Bushnell

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This book seems like the perfect way to kick off the season. Plus, as some of you know, in my head I pretend I'm the black Carrie Bradshaw of the South. Summer and the City is the sequel to The Carrie Diaries. Together these two novels serve as a prequel to Sex and the City. says  "With her signature wit and sparkling humor, Candace Bushnell reveals the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City's most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw."

Baby Proof, Emily Giffin

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Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting Emily Giffin at the Skirt! Creative Conference in Atlanta. After hearing her speak I lamented the fact I hadn't read any of her books because in her talk it was obvious how funny and smart she is. Though she's best known for books like Something Blue and Something Borrowed, which was later adapted into a movie, Baby Proof seems like the novel for me. Baby Proof tells the story of Claudia Parr a successful editor at a publishing house in Manhattan. While Claudia is a devoted sister, aunt, and friend, she's never wanted to become a mother--which she discovers is a major hurdle to marriage, something she desperately wants. Then she meets her soul mate Ben who, miraculously, feels the same way about parenthood. The two fall in love and marry, and begin a life of adventure and discovery together. Then, one of them has a change of heart. Someone wants a baby after all.

How'd You Get This Number, Sloane Crosley 

One day I hope to be half as funny as Sloane Crosley, who's been described as the female David Sedaris. How'd You Get This Number is a collection of nine essays that I hope is as funny as her collection I Was Told There'd Be Cake. According to Publishers Weekly the collection includes such pieces as "the requisite essay about moving to New York and replacing her anorexic-kleptomaniac roommate with a more acceptable living arrangement: in Crosley's case, delineated in Take a Stab at It, she is interviewed by the creepily disembodied current occupier of a famous former brothel on the Bowery, McGurk's Suicide Hall." That should give you a taste of what's in store.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling

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Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner, in her review of this book, says "no matter how many quirky memoir-slash-observational-essay collections by funny ladies you’ve got on your shelves, you’re going to want this one there, too." Especially considering since this one is by a  first-generation Indian-American comedy writer-slash-sitcom star who shot to fame with a cross-dressing impersonation of Ben Affleck. Need I say more?

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To find this book you'll have to head over to the business and marketing section of your favorite bookstore, but this is like nothing you had to read for that economics class you hated in college.  The book's subtitle is A Guide to Building Your Brand for the Audience Who Will Love You (and why no one else matters). That perfectly explains exactly what the book is about and exactly how the witty, smart, foul-mouthed Napoletano, better known as RedHead Writing, made a name for herself. Confession: I totally have a girl crush on Napoletano and played hookie from work back in April so I could meet her and get her autograph in my copy of this book. See!

Come back tomorrow for the last half of my summer reading list. 

What are you reading this summer? 


  1. I really look forward to reading Erika's book. I wasn't able to make the ALsocme event where she spoke (we don't get to play hookie!)

    While at the beach, I finished Douglas Brinkley's 500+ page history of conservation efforts in Alaskas, The Quiet World. That was my first summer read, which I started the week of final exams. Now about 1/2 through a re-read of N.T. Wright's Surprised By Hope, which does a great job of correcting a lot of misunderstandings in popular belief about what the New Testament says about life-after-death.

    Haven't officially decided on my next read. I'm off to Vermont for a food systems conference next week, so it will probably be food or agriculture-related.

    1. Surprised By Hope sounds very interesting. I might have to look into that. Enjoy Vermont!