My daughter knows. My son knows. And my wife, 4th grade teacher, most certainly knows.

Seven more days of school. Seven more days till summer break.

And I know for most of you right now, just getting through the school year is all you’re thinking about. But in a few weeks, you’ll be ready for your summer reading list. You know . . . that list of books that you’ve been wanting to read but just haven’t had time for yet?

I always look forward to summer because it gives me a bit more time to read stuff that I put off during the school year. And this year’s list is a little optimistic, given that my summer is a bit busier than normal. But I’m gonna try.

  • The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
    At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloging the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy – “degenerate” works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.
  • The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
    Used properly, a simple drawing on a humble napkin is more powerful than Excel or PowerPoint. It can help crystallize ideas, think outside the box, and communicate in a way that people simply get. In this book Dan Roam argues that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can’t draw.
  • Powering Up: Are Computer Games Changing Our Lives?
    How are we responding to the onslaught of brain-training, entertaining, potentially addicting, time-consuming, myth-spawning games? In Powering Up, Rebecca Mileham looks at the facts behind the headlines to see what effect this epidemic of game-playing is really having on us and the society we live in. Is it making us obese, anti-social, violent and addicted . . . or just giving us different ways of getting cleverer, fitter and more skilled?
  • The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
    Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.
  • Soul Made Flesh: The Discovery of the Brain–and How it Changed the World
    The dramatic tale of how the secrets of the brain were discovered in seventeenth-century England unfolds against a turbulent backdrop of civil war, the Great Fire of London, and plague. At the beginning of that chaotic century, no one knew how the brain worked or even what it looked like intact. But by the century’s close, even the most common conceptions and dominant philosophies had been completely overturned, supplanted by a radical new vision of man, God, and the universe.
  • The Calendar: The 5000 Year Struggle to Align the Clock and the Heavens and What Happened to the Missing Ten Days
    From the earliest recorded date, people have tried to organize their lives according to the movements of the sun, moon and stars–and have, for the most part, consistently gotten it wrong. This book outlines the history of man’s reckoning of time, ranging from one of the earliest calendars to the atomic clocks of today, which measure time too well for an ever slowing Earth.

What are you gonna read? What books should all history and social studies teachers being reading right now?

(A quick tip? I use Shelfari to organize, find and discuss books. Good Reads and LibraryThing are two other sites that do very similar things, all three are good.)

Have fun!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend