A Month of No New Books—I Made It!

Well, here we are. The final day. Today, I am wearing the costume of a book-lover with exceptional restraint, because tomorrow, I am allowed to buy more books. But will I? I already have too many and not enough time in which to read them!

Today, explain my wish list, which I posted four days ago. It has already grown. Again, I will admit I have a problem.

If you want to see the list in its entirety, I’m going to refer you back to the original list. All titles on that list are included here, as well as some additions (some books were originally on the list but I forgot to include them; others, I’ve added because BOOKS). I’ve tried to group the titles together as much as possible to keep from taking an age to finish typing.

    Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir
    Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster by Alison Weir
    Great Tales from English History: A Treasury of True Stories about the Extraordinary People—Knights and Knaves, Rebels and Heroes, Queens and Commoners by Robert Lacey
    Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne

I might’ve mentioned that I love British history. These are more titles I would like to read in my autodidactic quest.

    A Memoir of Jane Austen: and Other Family Recollections by James Edward Austen-Leigh, Kathryn Sutherland
    Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Patillo
    Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
    Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict: A Novel by Laurie Viera Rigler
    My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park by Cindy Jones
    Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart by Laurel Ann Nattress
    A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
    The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

I also might have mentioned that I love Jane Austen.

    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
    Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Per Petterson
    Omeros by Derek Walcott
    The Last Town on Earth: A Novel by Thomas Mullen
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
    Selling Out: If Famous Authors Wrote Advertising by Joey Green
    Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook by Sarah Schmelling

All of these books are on my list because of an International Baccalaurate training I attended over three years ago. The first five were suggested as good titles to teach in the “Free Choice” portion of the curriculum. The last two were suggested because some of my fellow attendees thought they were fun.

    Stag’s Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds
    One Secret Thing by Sharon Olds

In high school, my AP Literature teacher included the poems “35/10” and “Burn Center” by Sharon Olds in her curriculum. For me, there was no going back. I have all of Sharon Olds’s books of poetry except these two. I have taught many of her poems, including “The Guild,” “The Victims,” and “Burn Center” as an analysis of the cycle of abuse and healing. I know I’ve mentioned I would like to be Margaret Atwood when I grow up; I would also like to be Sharon Olds. Her words are heavy and ache with meaning.

    The Walking Dead: Compendium Two by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn
    The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga

I want these so that I can complete my The Walking Dead collection. I have to finish reading the first one, though.

    Faker’s Guide to the Classics: Everything You Need to Know About The Books You Should Have Read (But Didn’t) by Michelle Witte
    America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth: Reform Beyond Electoral Politics by Henry A. Giroux
    Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching by Meenoo Rami
    This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education by Jose Vilson
    Falling in Love With Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts—And Life by Christopher Lehman, Kate Roberts

These are all books that would, in some way, help my teaching. Some could inform my practice or responsiveness, some could inform my content knowledge. The Michelle Witte book is here because while I have Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, I thought her book might be a more student-accessible version of the same content.

    The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
    The Bone Season: A Novel by Samantha Shannon
    Kinder Than Solitude: A Novel by Yiyun Li
    Jupiter Rising by L. Riley Savon
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke
    Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
    Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel
    California: A Novel by Edan Lepucki
    The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
    Landline by Rainbow Rowell
    The Last Illusion: A Novel by Porochista Khakpour
    Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations With Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg
    The Children Act by Ian McEwan
    Winterspell by Claire Legrand
    The Woman Who Died A Lot: A Thursday Next Noel by Jasper Fforde
    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
    Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson (addition after Monday’s post)
    Thunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
    Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
    Heap House by Edward Carey (addition after Monday’s post)

All of these books were, in one way or another, recommended to me. That, or I am interested in the subject matter. Ortberg’s book is intriguing, and I really want to read it because I love when there’s a modern frame put around literature. I mean, what would Shakespeare look like if he lived today? More importantly, who would he verbally skewer in his plays? What kind of texts would Jane Eyre send? Her book may already be in my cart waiting for me to click “Purchase.” Just saying. I also have loved books by Ian McEwan, Rainbow Rowell, and Jasper Fforde. Everyone else on this list would be new to me. Since I’ve mentioned it, that’s something I love as a reader: finding new authors that intrigue me, inspire me, or just simply write good books that I don’t want to put down.

p.s. Shakespeare might look like this:


Tattooed Shakespeare by Matthew McFarren

    Play It As It Lays: A Novel by Joan Didion
    Green Girl: A Novel by Kate Zambreno
    Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine
    Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV by Jennifer L. Pozner
    Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (somehow omitted from the first list)

While reading Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, I compiled this list of books she discussed (she discussed others, some of which I’d read, some I had not; this list reflects those that interested me the most). I want to be more educated, more aware, more capable. That’s what these are here for.

    How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them—A Misstep-by-Misstep Guide by Howard Mittelmark, Sandra Newman
    Words into Type by Marjorie E. Skillin
    Fowler’s Modern English Usage by R. W. Burchfield

I’m still learning to be an editor—these books were suggested as some of the best in terms of information, practical knowledge, and/or reference.

    Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham
    Yes Please by Amy Poehler (addition after Monday’s post)

I’m always on the lookout for good, contemporary nonfiction to use in my class. I like to provide the students with things they will find not only relevant, but also engaging (at least when I introduce a topic). I use contemporary nonfiction (for instance I used Roxane Gay’s “Not Here to Make Friends”) as building blocks for the older, more difficult and less accessible pieces we might read (see: Queen Elizabeth’s speech to the troops at Tilbury).

Well, there you have it. I’m done! Now I can buy books…

But really, as you know I’ve admitted MANY times, I shouldn’t. And I probably won’t for a while. Maybe.

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