So, my Summer Reading goal is to read more “adult” books. If you’ve read one of my previous posts, then you know that I mainly read young adult books. One question that the children’s and teen librarians are asking participants when they sign up for the Summer Reading program is: Why are you signing up for the Summer Reading program? One of the answers is “to challenge myself.” That option stuck out to me. I’d like to think that my goal is challenging myself because I’m broadening my horizons. I’m stepping outside of my reading comfort zone.
The book that helped me to get out of this reading comfort zone is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. One day I was lucky enough to find a best-seller copy and decided to see what the hype was all about. The book is well worth all of the praise. It helped break down the stereotype that I had about adult books being boring. I realize now that I hadn’t come across the right book to crush this stereotype until now. This book was full of twists and turns. I was shocked when I found out who the killer was.
I won’t give away any spoilers. If you’re looking for a good book this is it. I know it’s hard to find an available copy in our system at the moment, so I would recommend looking on OverDrive for an audio or electronic version. Since it’s hard to get a copy in every medium I’m going to suggest some read alikes. They are The Secret Place by Tana French, The First Prophetby Kay Hooper, and Losing You by Nicci French.
Summer Reading has long been the domain of children and teens. In fact, we’re sometimes so focused on getting younger folks to read during the summer, it’s easy for people to forget that Summer Reading is important and exciting for adults, too!
This year, CLP is getting more intentional about Summer Reading by asking adult readers to go a step further than simply logging the number of pages or books they’ve read. We’re asking that you set a Summer Reading goal and let us know how it goes! Throughout the summer, we’ll share tips, book recommendations, supplemental readings and library resources related to your goal. Your goal can be anything at all related to reading. To prove it, here’s a look at the Summer Reading goals of some CLP volunteers.
I’m a mother to an 8-year-old boy who would much rather be playing Minecraft than reading, so one of my goals is to supervise his summer reading program as well as read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to him at bedtime in the hope that it will inspire him to begin reading chapter books. For myself, this summer I’m going to read books with a landscape theme. One of these is Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, another is Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error, the great Annales School historical work by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, and a third is The Great Gatsby. I’m going to read Montaillou with an eye to writing a short story featuring a character in Ladurie’s history, the Cathar shepherd Pierre Maury. Wish me luck!
After weeks of agonizing over what my summer reading goal would be this year, I decided not to decide. Or rather, to decide on a multi-genre goal since I couldn’t settle on all one category of anything. I’m going to read five books, in no particular order.
Something self-improvement: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I know so many people who have read and loved this book, and I’m a slob, so I’m hoping this will revolutionize my life. Or at least my apartment.
Something hilarious:Meaty by Samantha Irby. I occasionally read her blog, Bitches Gotta Eat. (Who knew that tales of Crohn’s disease could be so funny?) As you may guess from the title of her blog, the profanity is free-flowing, so not suitable for folks sensitive to that kind of thing.
Something from my culture of origin: Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley by Ann Pancake. I’m a native West Virginian, and have a special affinity for stories about my Appalachian homeland. Also, I was roommates with her brother during college for a while.
I started out with a pretty ambitions reading goal of all the unread books in my Audible collection. When I actually checked to see how many unread books I had, it turned out to be about 25 books. After doing some quick math, this translated to over 320 hours of reading or about 3 hours of reading every single day through August 31. Since I barely get half an hour of free time every day, this seemed like an over ambitious goal. So, I broke down my books into 3 categories, fiction, education non-fiction, and history non-fiction. My new goal is to read three books from each category this summer, which I think is a little more reasonable. My first book this week was Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series is one of my favorite series books full of horror, action, sci-fi and more. My next pick will have to be something from non-fiction, maybe The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner.
I’ve got a long list of books on my ‘to-read’ list. Some of them have been there for ages, and keep getting pushed to the bottom (you know how it is….when someone tells you about an especially good, or new book that you just have to read… the list just never ends). So this summer, I’m going to the bottom of my list and challenging myself to read books that I have been putting off. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, as well as Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles, by Richard Dowden are two that will definitely bump their way to the top! Another mini goal I have for myself is to read a couple of nonfiction books. I have a tendency to shy away from nonfiction!
Ready? Set? GOAL: Sign up for Summer Reading at carnegielibrary.org/summer, set your goal, receive encouragement and tips, and be entered to win some awesome prizes.
Previously, on the 1,001 movies project, I decided that maybe I was pushing myself a little too hard, and that I should slow down on my frantic film-watching pace. This decision, for better or worse, meshed with an extremely busy month in my life, in which I bought and moved into my first home. As a result, I haven’t watched a whole lot of movies since my last project-related blog post. And while part of me hangs its head in shame for not making more progress toward my goal, a larger part of me is having so much fun picking out carpet and curtains that it’s completely forgotten to feel guilty.
Enter Frodo Baggins. Literally and metaphorically.
When my own personal Scooby Gang learned that I had never watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, despite being a lifelong fan of the books, they took matters into their own hands. Graciously opening up their home to a posse of wise-cracking MST3K wannabes, my dear friends planned a series of get-togethers so that I could at least cross three movies off my list during an extremely busy time in my life. And if you stop and think about it, that’s an awful lot like Sam stepping up to the plate and helping Frodo when he started to droop under his extremely heavy burden.
Okay, okay, perhaps I exaggerate. But struggling to achieve this goal, and having my pals come to my rescue, has me thinking about Tolkien, his good friend Mr. Lewis, Joseph Campbell, and the wealth of fairy and folk tales passed down through the ages. A common thread they share is that of the hero/ine who passes through a period of despair before s/he triumphs. Said hero/ine is frequently aided by a friend, human or animal, who provides some sort of aid and comfort to the hero/ine so that s/he has the strength to go on. I like that, after thousands of years, we are all still living , reading, and watching the same kind of story. Our obstacles may be spreadsheets, deadlines and overly busy schedules instead of witches and dragons, but the song remains the same, no?
So, after tonight’s planned shenanigans, we’ll be able to log this leg of the movie-watching journey as follows:
Any encouraging words you have at this point are welcome, constant readers. Now that we’ve exhausted the Peter Jackson trilogy, I fear I may need some verbal dynamite to bust out of my rut and get back on track…
The promise of a brand-new year never fails to fill me with joy and hope. No matter what I have or have not accomplished in the previous twelve months, when I look at all those blank boxes on the coming year’s January calendar page I think to myself, “Sweetheart, this is your time. Go crazy.”
So, that’s my plan: to learn new crafts, visit new places, read as many books as possible, and otherwise explore and savor everything life has to offer. Obviously, I’ll be using the library as a get-started resource for many of my adventures. Life can’t be experienced solely through books and reading, but a great library can provide both the practical tools and the inspiration any lifelong learner needs to take the next flying leaps into the unknown.
In the spirit of “I am crazy, and so can you,” here is a list of 100 things you can do in 2011 with the friendly help of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. *
I’m not sure why it’s so much easier for me to believe in transformation and hope at this time of year. Maybe it’s the snow, or the way people let down their guard and treat each other a little more gently, exchanging presents and reconnecting with loved ones. Who knows? Perhaps it’s not something that can be rationally explained, merely savored–as if savoring life could ever be merely “mere.”
As the wheel of the year slowly turns us once more toward the light, can you regain that sense of childlike belief that you could accomplish just about anything to which you set your mind? What are your hopes and dreams for 2011, dear readers? What astonishing things will you do? And, most importantly, how can we help you?