I have historically fallen into the trap of thinking I’m going to get So Much Done during the summer months. Here are examples of my overly ambitious plans over the years (and what actually happens):
- Organize all the closets in the house (throw summer items onto the winter items)
- Have enriching activities for my children every day (add to rock collection; prevent rocks from being thrown around the house)
- Make healthy snacks from scratch (open up a Nutra-Grain bar and call it a day)
- Get my husband to fix the front door (talk about the front door and how nice it would be if it were fixed)
- Keep the house clean (bahahahaha)
Despite our comfortable summer inertia — which is the best thing about summer, anyway — it amazes me how I can sit on the couch and read as my boys are playing with trains or dinosaurs or repurposed trash whatever, and I still feel productive because I’m “enhancing my mind” and “broadening my experiences” and “doing research” for next year. I <3 READING! Here are some of my book picks for the summer:
1. Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey — As a recovering perfectionist, I loved this book and how it makes failure into a good thing. It is probably the most significant book (in terms of shaping my beliefs/behavior) I have read since having kids.
2. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson — A birthday present from my BFF (thank you, Becca!), I read this book on the beach during vacation. A fun read — it reminded me (in a good way) of what it felt like to be a teenager and the sheer epic-ness of it all. (And a good refresher for me as a teacher of approximately 90 teenage students.)
3. Getting to Yum by Karen Le Billon — I am very interested in how I can get my children to eat whatever I put in front of them with minimal stress and fuss. This book had a lot of helpful tips to do that, and inadvertently, some tips for helping reluctant students, as well.
4. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck — The basic premise of this book is that there are two basic types of mindsets: fixed (nothing can change) and growth (it is within your power to change). Everyone is some combination of the two, and mindset can also depend on the situation, but obviously, it is best to approach life with a growth mindset. I’m planning on sharing some of this information with my students at the beginning of the year; it’s a good way to think about how you think.
5. How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims — I’d read some articles by and about this author, and I was excited to read the book she’d written on how youth have been pushed to extremes in the last fifteen years or so. Lots of good food for thought.
6. Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey — I’ve had this book for many years, but it still gives me the snorts/chuckles. This is also the inspiration for a yearlong activity I do with my students (to be posted at a later time).
7. The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman — The subject of my first blog post. I got this as a gift for my husband because I wanted to read it. It was an exciting book about a Russian engineer who assisted the United States for many years with daily acts of espionage. I learned about a period in history (the Cold War) that I’m not too familiar with. I usually like to read a random history book at some point during my break, and I was very satisfied with this choice.
8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year…so it was fitting to read this newest installment of the Potter family and company. I was a bit doubtful before reading because I thought it might be a B version of the original story, but I was pleasantly surprised and it gave me that nice, nostalgic feeling of wanting to read the entire book in one sitting, just like the series.
What are other books you would suggest for the last part of summer?