I know. I know. I missed posting yesterday. I had my fill of words, though, and no pictures. Yesterday I spent the day reading placement essays for incoming freshman. Most were sincere arguments about why the student felt s/he belongs in a certain level class. Some were a few frustrated sentences from students less able to write under pressure. I read a few with a cocky tone that implied how senseless the exam is. Several argued that they belonged in the 101+ class (an extra hour of instruction a week) so eloquently that my boss will call to suggest that the class is not necessary. My favorite, though, was a young man who compared English 101 to a beautiful woman who would demand much time and attention, but would be totally worth it in the end. Who was I to separate him from his lady love?
We noticed a trend: the students who wrote about specific authors or books (oh, we love that!) seem to like Twilight (haven't been able to get through 20 pp of it myself, but I'm going to try again) and Harry Potter (always a hit with the exam readers), Nicholas Spark, Jodi Picoult, and a few other writers that brought out the snobbery in the room. When I got a Jane Austen or Bronte fan, I called it out, and we all smiled and felt the future was in safe hands.
Which leads me to today's list, one I love: ten books on my summer reading list.
1. The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design by Shannon Okey. While I have no pretensions of my being a designer, I do have a few patterns swirling around my head and am curious to see what the ever-fabulous Knitgrrl has to say about what I should do with them.
2. John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River. I adore John Irving. I consider him my literary grandfather. My mentor studied with him at Breadloaf, so I figure some of what she learned from him trickled down to me. I bought this last night to bring on vacation with me, and I'm having a hard time waiting to start.
3. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I've been plugging through this. Usually I rip through anything about Tudor England--fiction or non-fiction--but this has been a painfully slow read for me. I haven't yet put my finger on why, but at some point I'll finish, review the book, and let you know. It did win the Booker Prize, which is why I bought it.
4. Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horowitz. My pal and librarian Teri loaned me this. It's under consideration for teaching in my war-themed composition class. I would probably excerpt a chapter as I don't know if I want to make this the book I read with the students. I'm finding it interesting, especially as I have issues with the tight grasp so many southerners seem to keep on the Civil War.
5. Dimanche by Irene Nemirovsky. I love her writing. Period.
6. The Odyssey of Homer translated by Richard Lattimore. It's been about ten years since I've last read it, but I still think about it all the time, so I plan a revisit.
7. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I think Ramona once recommended it to me. It's been on my bookshelf for a while. Mona is a good reader, so if she suggests, I read.
8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I can't resist it.
9. Two Novels by Mary Chesnut. Another recommendation from Teri.
10. The Half-Known World by Robert Boswell. Before my (mostly) daily writing practice, I like to read a chapter or so of a craft book or a piece of writing that will help me to focus. This is my current craft book. I like Boswell's fiction, and I've been intrigued by him when I've attended his panels at AWP.
What about you? What's on your list?
ETA: I forgot to add that I'm also reading Three Cups of Tea for my reading club.