I never thought about reading romance novels, although I knew two (very good) girls in high school who read them constantly. I wound up reading my first romance novel by accident. Andrew’s grandmother trades stacks and stacks of books with her friends. One summer, about 4 years ago, she gave me a stack of five books to read, and unknown to me, two of them were
This week I read several short stories to broaden what I teach to students. I have a love/hate relationship with a lot of the stories because they depict situations which are miserable or embarrassing for the main character. However, these stories are well-written and are perfect for meaningful discussions about core values, family, love, relationships, and class divides.
Here is what I read this week:
"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant - Matilde is a beautiful woman from a lower class family. She believes that she deserves pretty and expensive things, and resents her husband for being unable to provide them. When they are invited to a fancy party, Matilde buys an expensive dress and borrows a necklace from her good friend in order to fit in. It is hard to like Matilde's character, or to feel sorry for her, when she has an unfounded sense of entitlement.
"The Stolen Party" by Liliana Heker - Rosaura is invited to a birthday party for her friend Luciana, but Rosaura's mother insists that Luciana does not see her as a friend, but as the maid's daughter. It is interesting to read a story in which a slow understanding rolls over you instead of the author revealing all in a dramatic pivotal moment.
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber - Walter daydreams more than he experiences real life. Whether he is saving the patient in the operating room or flying solo in a bombing mission for the war, Walter's secret daydreams are as fascinating to readers as they are annoying to his wife.
"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry - A poor couple sell precious belongings in order to afford Christmas presents for one another. This story is more frustrating than heartwarming to me because I think the couple could have spent their money more wisely.
"Woman Hollering Creek" by Sandra Cisneros - Cleófilas hopes to find passion like she sees in a telenovela - a man to take her away from her endless chores - and instead winds up in an unfamiliar country, trapped and miserable. I have mixed feelings about this story. It not easy to read because of the loneliness Cleófilas feels and the abuse she endures. However, I don't believe in only reading happy stories, and this story is well-written and a fast read.
This week I did not finish my challenge on time. I will update when I have!
*Update Wednesday 7/16*
I have finished reading the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. The play portrays the circumstances of the Younger family, a typical African American family living Chicago’s South Side. With five people in a two bedroom apartment, spirits are down because of dreams unrealized and deteriorating family relationships. Hansberry’s realistic portrayal of complex family relationships is refreshing and insightful, but the subject matter is on the depressing side. This is not the play to read if you are looking for a light read, but it is definitely worth reading.
As I mentioned before, I began reading a book three days into my summer vacation because I finally had the free time to do so. Three weeks later, I have decided to continue by reading a book a week.
Here are my first three in review:
Week 1: Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot
Week 2: Persepolis by Majane Satrapi
Week 3: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
As my first year of teaching came to a close, I realized how little time I had made for myself and my interests. The first week of summer was the first time I had read a book for fun in over a year. Growing up, I was a voracious reader, so this realization was disheartening. After my second week, and second book, came to a close, I realized that I could keep up the pace. There, my summer challenge was born; I will read a book a week.
Every Sunday, I will check in and tell you how successful (or unsuccessful) I was, as well as give you a quick review of the book I devoured. Later this week I will fill you in on my first three reads.
Have you set a challenge for yourself recently? Do you have a novel suggestion? Let me know in the comments!
I'm a Southern California teacher who loves the outdoors, weekend DIY projects, gardening, and baking.