Things I’ve Read – Summer 2014 Edition

It’s been a good summer for books!  I have to say that I’ve tried to quit audible several times over the past few years, and I always go back to it because it’s the only way for me to afford new books.  I still can’t retain things I read on a screen (kindle or otherwise), so it’s books or audiobooks for me.  And audible is a deal if you want to read/hear books that are still in hardback.  Here’s what I’ve read this summer.  Some I’ve loved more than others.  I’ve starred the ones I’d recommend.

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche *

Remember Me Like This, Bret Anthony Johnston  *

An Untamed State, Roxane Gay  * 

To Rise Again At A Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris  *

Dreaming Yourself Awake, B. Allan Wallace (when you need to control even your dreams)

Elizabeth Bishop -Life and the Memory Of It, Brett C. Millier *

Shirley, Susan Scarf Merrell

Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson  *

The Metamorphosis  (Sara Bernofsky translation)

How to Read Literature, Terry Eagleton

Poems, Poets, Poetry, Helen Vendler  *

Blasphemy, Sherman Alexie  *

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

The Harlem Hellfighers, Max Brooks  *

Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor  *

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, Jessican Abel and Matt Madden  *

The Gloria Anzaldua Reader  **

Admittedly, several of these were re-reads for a new class I’m designing.  Still on my re-read before fall shelf is Zami by Audre Lorde  *, The Stranger by Albert Camus, Macbeth, and the damn Canterbury Tales.

I attended a training that confirmed both my hatred for group work and my blind desire to impress even the crankiest of instructors are still intact. Even though we are a room full of teachers, we quickly devolve into caricatures of our own students.  DudeBro talks A LOT, but doesn’t know what “prose” means.  Doctorate politely listens and nods, all the while dying inside because there are no jobs in academia.  Flatiron gets so frustrated with a difficult poem that she loudly reports to HATE It Because It Makes No Sense.  Genderqueer confuses people in the bathroom and refuses to explain the origin of his/her middle name, even when asked outright.   High Heels refuses to put away her ipad, even after being asked about twenty times. Quiet Guy is brilliant.  And judging.   And then there are some genuinely nice people who never get to say a word.


It is good practice to put teachers back into frustrating classroom situations where they have little power.  The instructor held our 30 hours of inservice over our heads as though they were grades, asking us to sign in and out with specific times.  We had little say over how we were to work and how we spent our time (two afternoons were spent in useless field trips).  I always leave these situations with much more compassion for my students, who are forced to navigate these class structures every day in seven different classes.  Even though we’ve got small classes, those dynamics don’t cease to exist.  I made several pages of notes just about how I need to change my own classroom expectations and structures to make sure that everyone has a little bit of say in how they work (alone or in groups, quietly or with music, at home or in class, on a screen or by hand, etc).




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