Back in June I was pretty pumped about my very organized summer reading list. I even mapped out in my head when I should start and finish certain books.
It didn’t work out the way I planned.
Work, family, travel, honey-dos, kids, in-laws and just plain laziness conspired against me. I did get some books read, just not all of those that I planned on. And I suppose that’s the beauty of reading – you get sucked into something topical, you realize that several of the books you thought would be good just weren’t or you just run across a book that catches your eye.
In any case, here’s my amended summer reading list:
- I kept putting off The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story because it had the potential for being such a sad book . . . you know, the whole Holocaust and 12 million people murdered thing. And, yes, the account of Polish zookeepers hiding Jews during the German occupation was sad and discouraging at times but I also discovered a wonderful story of hope and courage and bravery and ingenuity. Highly recommended!
- I’m reading Assassination Vacation on the Kindle App on my iPod Touch and struggling with the whole digital, e-book version. But still love Sarah Powell!
- I started The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History and just couldn’t get through it. At least for me, just too dry. Same with The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. Some nice stuff if I was teaching the 30s and US History but not summer reading!
- I was really looking forward to The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War. But I couldn’t find it anywhere and kept putting off trying to get it through inter-library via our small town library. It stays on the list.
- Salt: A World History was an interesting micro-history. I’m a sucker for historical trivia and amongst other things, some very interesting stuff about early salt trade.
- I got sidetracked with the whole Apollo 11 anniversary and ended up reading an old favorite and new find. I went back to a classic of the Apollo program called . . . Apollo. Wonderful stories and interesting facts. Gene Cernan wrote The Last Man on the Moon, a great first-person account of an astronaut’s journey to the moon.
Others I ended up with:
- All the President’s Men by Carl Berstein and Bob Woodward, the Watergate classic.
- The Miracle of Castle di Sangro by Joe McGinnis, a fun book that chronicles a year in a small Italian soccer town.
- The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson, a hilarious trip through the United States by a well-known travel writer.
and am just starting I Wish I’d Been There: Twenty Historians Bring to Life the Dramatic Events That Changed America edited by Byron Hollinshead. What a great concept! Ask history studs “What is the scene or incident in American history that you would like to have witnessed—and why?” and then publish the result. Fun so far!
I know it’s an incredibly busy time of the year for history teachers. But unless we stay in the game, we get left behind.
What are you reading?