summer reading

Books You Should Read

Biographies

  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
  • Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso 

Series 

  • Miss Peregrine Home for Peculiar Kids by Ransom Riggs
  • The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld 

Poetry 

  • Whiskey Words and a Shovel (Volumes 1,2 &3) by r.h. Sin
  • Rest in the morning by r.h. Sin 
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
  • Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet 
  • Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet
  • Beautiful Chaos by Robert M. Drake

Classics

  •   Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
  • Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte 
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway 
  • This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  • The Pictures of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde 

Fiction 

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green 
  • All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda 
  • The Oxygen Thief by Anonymous 
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 
  •  The History of Love by Nicole Krauss 


i think you accidentally stole my heart
keep it
you’ll probably treat it better than I do anyway.
—  an excerpt from ‘it starts like this’, the bestselling poetry collection by shelby leigh

doing my dialectical journal before practice at a starbucks, drinking a green tea frappe because holy shit it’s hotter than hell outside and i think i melt a little every time i go outside

my friends, it is now 23 days until school begins. am i excited or do i want to slip into a coma so i don’t have to go the world may never know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

you are the moon
giving light to
the velvet sky


and I am the stars
that fall just to
be closer to you.

—  velvet by shelby leigh

Need a gift idea for your niece’s fifth birthday (that you RSVPed for last year)? Or maybe looking at picture books helps you relax? Either way, here are three children’s titles, all out in June, that caught my eye in the mail pile: 

Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Life offers advice to children from animals – the wild geese, the rabbit in the field  –  who have weathered good times and bad.

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Just in time for the Fourth of July, Blue Sky White Stars explores symbols of America, from a sunny baseball game to a spaceship blasting off at Cape Canaveral.

Renato and The Lion by Barbara DiLorenzo

Set in World War II Florence, Italy, Renato and The Lion tells the story of a boy, his favorite piazza and the stone lion statue there that makes him feel safe. His family is forced to flee to America because of the war, but decades later, when he finally makes it back, the statue is still standing.

- Intern Sydnee

Life images courtesy of Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Images; Blue Sky, White Stars images courtesy of Penguin Random House; Renato and The Lion images courtesy of Viking Books for Young Readers.

One of my majors is english, so I do a lot of reading. Having to read an entire novel each week is rough, but it really helped me refine my annotating methods. Here is how I annotate fiction and nonfiction books! 

FICTION

1. MAKE USE OF THE BLANK PAGES IN THE FRONT OF THE BOOK 

I’m someone who has a lot of trouble with keeping track of characters, especially if there are a lot of them. To remedy this, I use one of the blank pages in the front of the book to make a list of each of the characters, and sometimes I’ll write something about them so I can place a name to a character. Here’s a quick example: 

2. USE HIGHLIGHTERS AND ASSIGN MEANING TO THE COLORS

If you aren’t someone who likes to actually write in the book, you can obviously use different colored post-its for this instead. I typically use three different colors when highlighting, and this is what the colors mean for me:

Pink - Character introductions: I use pink to highlight any time a character is introduced for the first time. You will often be asked to write about characters’ personalities, so this makes it easier to find descriptions of characters later. 

Green - Important plot points: I use green to highlight any important things that happen that I think I’ll need to look back at. 

Yellow - quotes: I use yellow for important quotes, or anything that is important but doesn’t fit any other category. 

Extra - Purple: After you finish reading a book, your teacher will usually point out important passages too. When this happens, I use purple to highlight those sections to denote that my professor found them important, because this probably means they’re worth talking about in an essay. 

3. WRITE A SUMMARY AT THE END OF EACH CHAPTER

To make sure you really understood what you just read, it is a good idea to write down a brief summary on the last page of the chapter. This helps with remembering what you read, and it also makes it much easier to go back and find events in the plot that you want to talk about.

4. POST-ITS FOR ESSAY IDEAS

I’ve pretty much had to write an essay on virtually every book I’ve had to read in both high school and college, so I’ve made a habit of using post it notes to bookmark pages with content that would be helpful in making arguments in an essay. Make a short note on the post it so you remember what point you were planning on making with that passage. *This is especially helpful for timed essays during which you’re allowed to use the book as a resource. That way, you can have essentially your entire argument planned out ahead of time. 

NONFICTION 

I use similar methods when annotating nonfiction, but instead of paying attention to plot points, I try to focus on main arguments and ideas. 

1. USE A BLANK PAGE FOR SUMMARIZING

Like with fiction, I like to use a blank page at the front of the book to summarize different sections of the book. This makes it easy to remember all the main ideas without having to flip back through the entire book.

2. HIGHLIGHTING AND WRITING

When I read nonfiction, I care much less about color-coding my annotations. I typically just use whatever I have around me at the time. What really matters about nonfiction is making sure you really understand the content, so I write down summaries in the margins on nearly every other page. 

As you can see, there’s a lot of different colors going on. They mean nothing. Honestly, my yellow highlighter was just going dead so I was going back and forth between that and my purple one. The red pen was the one I was using during my initial read-through, and the second time I read these pages, I just happened to have a blue pen, so don’t worry about the colors.

Anyway, what is really important about this is my short summaries in the margins. Doing this not only helps you dismantle the arguments being made, but it also forces you to become an active reader. 

3. ACTIVE READING

Like i just mentioned, engaging with the book by writing summaries frequently makes you an active reader. It is difficult to get anything out of a book if you aren’t actively engaging with the material, especially if it’s nonfiction. To fully understand the ideas being presented in the book, you need to find a way to actively engage with it. You can do this by using my ‘writing summaries in the margins’ method, or you can do whatever it is that makes you really focus on the content of the book. Anyone can zone out and look at words on a page, but if you want that A, you need to really dive into the book! 

I remember every empty conversation but
still I dream we turned out differently.
love heals, but it also hurts and
you were the king of breaking me

(just so you could heal me again.)


–I still love you by shelby leigh