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What are you reading this summer?

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Funny face, I adore "Home Comforts"! (But then, I also liked to read Emily Post's etiquette books as a child.) I agree, LOTS of good ideas on how to keep house -- not fussy, just good common sense.

I read "Devil in the White City", which I think BW wrote about earlier (many pages back -- I'm too lazy to check). It tells parallel stories, in alternating chapters, about the building of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1892-93 and the gruesome tale of a serial killer who set up shop a few miles from the fair and preyed on women who migrated to the city. All true. As the fair took place in my neighborhood -- my classroom window looks out on the fair's Midway -- I found it all particularly fascinating. Thanks, BW, for sharing this book with me!

I also just finished "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines. It's told from the perspective of a black schoolteacher in 1940's Louisiana, who has been asked to "make a man" of his aunt's friend's godson in the weeks between his trial and execution (for a murder at which he was present but probably had no part in). The teacher has his own demons to confront, and by the end, we're not sure which lesson the title refers to, nor who learned it. This book was our school's summer reading selection. All 200 faculty members and all the high school students (my school is pre-K - 12) are expected to read this book and come to school on day 1 prepared to discuss it.

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Treefrog, I'm intrigued. How, logistically, will you all discuss this book?

At daughter's former high school, all students and teachers read the same one book during the summer. In the first week or two of school in the fall, the author would visit the school, speak at "morning meeting" and then meet in individual English classes for discussions with students.

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Oh, all 700 of us gather in a room ....

I jest. One lunch is set aside during teachers' planning week for faculty discussions. Faculty are randomly assigned to a discussion group, so it's a good chance to meet and interact with colleagues from other areas of the school.

Similarly, the HS students hold discussions sometime during the first week of school, in randomly assigned groups that cross all four classes. I'm pretty sure there is a faculty facilitator in each group as well.

In the past, there has also been some associated "function". Two years ago, the book we read was "Mitchell and Ruff", which is about the lives of a jazz duo. It's a fascinating and good read, full of interesting observations and life lessons about passion and perseverence and the nature of learning. Mitchell and Ruff, now in their 70's or so, came to the school and gave two performances -- an interactive master-class kind of thing with the students, and an afterschool concert for the faculty. Last year's choice was "Einstein's Dreams" -- musings about the nature of time, which left pretty much everyone yawning. There was no faculty function for that one, and I think the students got a lecture from the HS physics teacher (which, apparently, left many of them yawning as well, although he's an engaging guy.) I don't know what the plans are for this year.

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Guest Angel2Be
Oh, what a great summer reading list!  I'm jealous -- I'd love to read those books again for the first time!  Please report in as you finish them -- we'd like to know what you think of them

Thank you for your interest! These books were a treat, as summer assignments go, and I love my lit class this year.

The Great Gatsby: I read this book once before back in ninth grade, but had to pick it up again because it had been three years. Let's just say I am really glad I did; there was so much I missed the first time around.

Wuthering Heights: The whole atmosphere was so beautiful, yet scary... I can't help but love a sinister romance!

Catch-22: Definitely deserves to be the classic humorous anti-war novel (much better than Hemmingway, I think.) The absurdity made it really fun to read. I would have flown through it, had there not been so many characters.

It turns out that I only had to read three books, so I put A Portrait of the Artist aside for later. But I mean to read it eventually this year.

Right now, we're working on Hamlet. :sweating:

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Well, it's still summer, and even though today starts the 4th week of school (!!!!!) I'm still working on my summer reading, as it's the perfect counterpart to all the studying. Just finished "Where the Heart Is," by Billie Letts. Never did see the movie, even though both book and movie have been out for several years. Another good Southern novel, but grittier than some.

Just started "What A Woman Must Do," by Faith Sullivan, a Minnesota writer (lots of wonderful women writers in that state). I loved her "The Cape Ann" and "The Empress of One."

A friend just gave me "Me Talk Pretty One Day," by David Sedaris, real life vignettes that can be read in a few minutes.

I'm still saving the two most recent Jan Karon books.

Anyone ever read the Griffin and Sabine series? I never did get the last of the series, which I'll have to do, and then I'll have to go back and read from book one to the present to refresh myself. For those who aren't familiar, these are books that contain postcards and letters -- you literally are reading someone else's mail. Very clever.

Happy reading.

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