Monday, August 03, 2009


Summer Reading

One of the most oft-heard statements around our house this Summer has been, "I'm out of books again. I need a new one to read."

This was said most often by Gary, who reads all the time and has gotten through at least a book or two a week this Summer (one reason I love him so much!), but all the girls have been busy reading too.

After watching the latest Harry Potter movie at the theatre, Delaney decided to go back and pick up what she'd missed. She read the sixth book and is now finishing up the series with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. (Funny story: When I was reading that book when it first came out, I holed myself away on Delaney's bed for two straight days. There's no t.v. in her room, so it was relatively quiet; once I sat on her bed, it became my reading spot and no one was going to move me out of it. She tells people now how she'd try to come in there, but I'd be crying and I'd just shoo her away saying something like, "One more chapter, then I'll let you come back in here. This book is so good, but so sad (sniffle, sniffle)." Well, now that she's reading the book, I get to throw it back at her. She's all weepy with it and is loving it! It just makes me happy to see her enjoying a book that way!)

And then McKenna has always been my biggest reader. She's like Gary and me; she can easily read a book in a few days and her room is strewn and piled high with books. This Summer she's been balancing school reading with her "fun" reading--although her fun reading has beaten out Wuthering Heights, which she has just had a hard time getting into (I keep saying to her, "But the agony of Heathcliff and his love for Catherine...," trying to get her to appreciate the Bronte novel like I always have, but she just laughs at me!).

With all of this Summer reading in my mind, then, I thought I'd do a fun Random Tuesday meme about books and then also key you into the books we've read over the Summer. Maybe you can be inspired and find a book you've never read yet!

I'll start off with a fun book-related meme that's been making the rounds over at Facebook. The challenge says to: "Don't take too long to think about it. List 15 books you've read that will always stick with you. They should be the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose. Accept that my choice, and maybe yours too, would be different on any given day!"

This was really hard for me, but I did just what it said. I just wrote down the first 15 I thought of (as soon as I made the list I, of course, thought of more that should have made it!).

These are books that just made an impression on me when I first read them ... I either was overwhelmed in tears, or laughter; or was blown away by the characters or story; or just sat there saying as I read it, "This is beautifully written."

A lot of them started or became what I would call a Book Phase at some point in my life (in my late teens, I read everything by Fitzgerald; the same thing with Remarque in my twenties; Nancy Drew started it, Agatha Christie continued it, and I still consider mysteries my favorite books to read today!; the Dickinson thing started when I was maybe 14 and never has stopped!). Others bring to mind very particular memories (hiding and reading Are you there, God? It's me Margaret behind my hymnal in church when I was in third grade!; skipping lunch in the eighth grade for several days and instead curling up with My Antonia in the balcony above our cafeteria; Gary and I reading Neruda's poems to each other the first year or so we were married).

The books are all like best friends, and I've read each of them more than once (I read To Kill a Mockingbird every year!). There are so many more, though, that have a special place in my heart. I guess I will just have to write another list of 15 sometime soon, and share them with you too!

In no particular order...

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
4. "Anne of Green Gables" series by Lucy M. Montgomery
5. The Kite Runner by Khalid Houisseni
6. Collected Poems by Emily Dickinson
7. A Time to Love and a Time to Die by Erich Remarque
8. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
9. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
10. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
11. My Antonia by Willa Cather
12. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
13. All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
14. Poems by Pablo Neruda
15. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
16. (because I thought of 15 and 16 simultaneously, and had to put them both in) Nancy Drew books

And then some other tidbits about books we've been reading this Summer.

Gary recommends: Any and all of the books in the "Dresden Files" by Jim Butcher (these fun books tell all about the adventures of Harry Dresden, who is both a wizard and a private detective); any and all of the books in the "Percy Jackson" series by Rick Riordan (these books are wonderfully fun; they are for middle school readers, but Gary and I have both fallen in love with them; they are fantasies about Percy Jackson, who just happens to be the son of the Greek god Poseidon; all sorts of havoc ensues from that!); The Road by Cormac McCarthy; The Shack by William Young; The Traveler (a fantasy series) by John Hawkes; The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly; The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg; and any and all of the books in the "House of Knight" series by P.C. Cast (this is a vampire-themed series set at a school for vampires and fledgelings; they are young adult books, but are actually pretty mature).

According to McKenna: She really liked the book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster, and enjoyed Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, but is still struggling through Wuthering Heights (all Summer reading for her senior AP English class). Her favorite books this Summer, though, were the ones in the "Pretty Little Liar" series by Sara Shepard (a young adult series that, from what I can gather, is a good mixture of Gossip Girls and "I know what you did last summer." i.e.: teenage drama / suspense.)

And, my favorite books this Summer included: the Percy Jackson books I already mentioned in Gary's recommendations (he's finished the series, and I'm on the fifth of six; they are SO much fun and are perfect for kids to adults); the "House of Night "books already mentioned; The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (a really fun young adult book; Gossip Girl-style book set in NYC at the turn of the century); The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Amazing!); The Book of Lost Things by John Connely (the ending was heart-rending); Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle (fun mystery series set in a coffee shop); Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris (I like the "True Blood" books better than the series!); My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (I finally read a Picoult after hearing so much about them, and really liked it); and Love Walked In by Marisa de Santos (I really loved this one; light and easy, but really life-affirming and poetic!).

(By the way: Sydney hasn't had much time for reading over the Summer, because she's much preferred watching a lot of "Hannah Montana," sleeping late, and drawing masterpieces. When she did manage to have me read to her, though, she usually requested books about any fairy tale princesses or Skippyjon Jones--the Siamese cat who thinks he's a Mexican chihahua. "Holy guacomole!" is our favorite line from that book series!)

And now...a challenge for you on this Random Tuesday.

* Either do the 15 book challenge

or

* Tell us a story about your love for a particular book: Why you love the book so much, or a particular memory of discovering/reading the book (a la my reading Judy Blume when I should have been paying attention in church).

I can't wait to read your responses (either put them in my comments section or post them on your own blog). Books are among my favorite things, and I love to read about other people's favorites.

Have a wonderful Tuesday...and go enjoy a good book!

15 comments:

Stephenie said...

I'm gonna post my own book comments on my blog :]

Lisa said...

I loved reading your post today and my problem is this . . . I love to read and read rather quickly and enjoy and then promptly forget . . .but these are a few of my favorites -- some life changing - some memorable - some just a fun read

1) Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers
2) Same Kind of Different as Me - Ron Hall and Denver
3) The Shack - William P. Young
4) What's so Amazing about Grace - Philip Yancey
5) God is closer than you think - John Ortberg
6) Island of Saints - Andy Andrews
7) Most all James Patterson novels
8) Most any cooking mystery
9) Most all Janet Evanovich books - especially her Stephanie Plum series
10) All of the Anne George books
11) Bitsy's Bait & BBQ - Pamela Morsi
12)usually whatever I'm reading at the moment!
13) I know that I'm supposed to put the Bible on this list and should probably be ashamed that it wasn't number one
14) The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

Sammie said...

Okay, I love this. These are not in any particular order: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Shepherd of the Hills, by Harold Bell Wright; Through Gates of Splendor, by Elizabeth Elliott; Anne of Green Gables series, by Maud Montgomery; anything by Rick Bragg (my absolute fav!); anything by Max Lucado; anything by Phillip Keller; anything by ... Read MorePhillip Yancey; Serve God, Save the Planet, by Matthew Sleeth; The Education of a Traveling Man, by Louis Lamour; Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby; Writing for the Soul, by Jerry Jenkins; the Mitford series by Jan Karon; Grace Walk, by Steve McVey.

Lisa said...

I was just reading Sammie's post and wanted to tell her that Matthew Sleeth is coming to Trinity - she might want to come hear him. Here is a link with info: http://www.trinitybirmingham.com/getinvolved/blog/missions_and_outreach/author_matthew_sleeth_coming_to_tumc/

Calming Scents said...

Hello, I'm visiting from another blog--and now i cant remember whose---but thats because I spent so much time checking out your blog!

I love your beach photos-beautiful family you have!

I'm not much of a book reader due to time right now but I did manage to read the The Shack last week and I cannot say enough about it..I was amazed.

Gary said...

What about

Love in the Time of Cholera
Arch of Triumph
All Quiet on the Western Front...
The Legend of Bagger Vance
A Time To Love and A Time to Die
Lonesome Dove
Into the Wild (You might not have read that one)
Of Mice and Men
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The other two Rick Bragg Books.... they too are classics

15 is not enough....

Cheryl Wray said...

Steph--I'll definitely come check it out!

Lisa--Absolutely LOVE the Anne George mysteries. Some of my favorites!!!

Sammie--Rick Bragg is also one of my top couple of authors. His writing is amazing!!!

Cheryl Wray said...

Lisa--With both you and Sammie mentioning him, I'm going to have to check him and his books out. Thanks!

Calming--Thanks for stopping by!!! I love meeting new online friends. My husband read The Shack and absolutely loved it!!

Gary--How could I forget Love in the Time of Cholera???? one of my absolute faves!!! There are TOO many books I love. :-)

Andy said...

love loved walked in
check out the pic of my boy on my site
you will love it

Gin said...

I love this list, Cheryl, and this idea for a post. I will have to check out some of your pics.

I love the Twilight books and the Janet Evanovick books (those have been my recent favorites).

Deborah said...

I think classics are sometimes wasted on teenagers. They just don't have enough life experience to really appreciate them!

I recently discovered the Dresden books. They are perfect summer reading. It's sort of like Harry Potter meets Sam Spade, private eye, meets Karl Kolchak!

When I was 13 I read a book a day in the summer. Even younger, I used to walk downtown to the library (we lived in a small town), check out a pile of books, get a candy bar at the drugstore, then hang out and read in the shade near the train tracks so I could watch the train go by.

hippo chick said...

I answered on your facebook. I plan to do a post about the books I chose and why, but I am so far behind with summer vacation pictures and posts I may never catch up.

~hippo hugs~

Cheryl Wray said...

Andy-- I went to your blog and I gotta say that is the CUTEST. BED JUMPER. EVER. Love it!!!!!!

Gin--I went through a serious Janet E. stage a few years ago. They are so much fun!

Deborah--What a WONDERFUL memory!!!!!!!! It just made me smile.

Hippo--I loved your list you posted on Facebook. I hope you had a wonderful trip and look forward to "catching up" with you soon. :-)

Just Me Again said...

Awesome post Cheryl!

Will do a post about books soon, too! :D

And by the way, I love many of the books in YOUR list! :D

Just Me Again said...

Awesome post Cheryl!

Will do a post about books soon, too! :D

And by the way, I love many of the books in YOUR list! :D