I used to have a booklist of all the books that I’d read from the summer before my senior year in high school through a couple of years after I graduated from university. That would make it roughly summer 1993-spring 2002. I lost the disk the list was saved on just before I left for Peace Corps. Heartbreaking.
The list was very personal to me because it was almost like a diary of my life. The books I read were a reflection of my life at the time—my interests, demands made on me, expectations I was to fulfill. After each title and author, I wrote a brief comment of what I thought of the book, what it meant to me at the time or just a summary of the book. I shared the list with only a few friends who were in the inner circle.
I’ve decided to begin a new list. This one will not be so private since I am posting it on the internet. No more inner circle. I'll be listing the books I've read since I left for Uganda in July 2006. I’m not an avid reader, nothing like a book a week. Nor am I a snob. I’m more like a book slut; I'll read anything. Anytime. Anyplace. I don't care who's around. (Don’t judge.) Fiction. Non-fiction. Biographies. Thriller. Mysteries. Children’s literature. I went through a Babysitters Club phase a couple of years ago. I’ve even stooped as low as reading Kirt Cameron: Dream Guy (Thanks Beth! Loved it. Passed it on. I saw it two days ago in the Peace Corps library. We’ve created a legacy). Books are like crack, but I can discriminate. I don’t care much for sci-fi, and I only like good (a very general and subjective modifier) fantasy. Right now I’m a primary school teacher, and that will influence the books I choose to read.
The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett: A sequel to my favorite book, Chasing Vermeer, that continues with the themes of learning what is relevant through exploration and following your intuition.
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger: A fun read.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: How many times is this now?
Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian: An excellent book about a young boy who was evacuated from London during WWII.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan: It’s all about moving on, not letting go and others standing in our way. Decisions are the worst.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: This book was so much fun. I love the movie, but the book is a very different adventure. Loved it!
The Second Mrs. Giaconda by E.L. Konigsburg: I really liked this book. Where did DaVinci get his inspiration?
Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti: A great read. Non-fiction. I learned a lot.
The Overseer by Jonathan Rabb: I was not too impressed. Some parts were interesting, but I’m not rushing out to buy other titles by Rabb.
Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Rae Bains and Joanne Mattern: A tiny bio about a remarkable American hero.
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson: Beautifully written story of a young girl living on the Amazon.
The Shackled Continent by Robert Guest: A look at why Africa is poor. His truths are blunt. (I liked that.) Some examples are too general. The solutions he proposes are very simple but not easily accomplished.
Nzima and Njunju: A Story of Two Friends by Natasha Museveni Karugire: Children’s story from Western Uganda. Beautiful illustrations.
AK by Peter Dickinson: This is a remarkable book about a child soldier in a fictitious African country that could be any of several African countries today, in the recent past or in the near future.
Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards”
by Alfie Kohn