Okay. So, it’s after midnight and I’m just fired up. So, tonight I watched The Great Gatsby, and loved it. Here were my thoughts after the movie: “Omg, I LOVED that movie! It was so beautifully made, and followed the book really well. They couldn’t have picked a better cast, and it could not have been made any better.” Next, “I need to have some hair pieces made like the ones in the movie. They were beautiful! And the hats...oh, the hats.” Then, “It makes me really sad when I hear that people haven’t read books like The Great Gatsby.” Finally, “I need to write a blog promoting Summer reading.” So, y’all, bear with me.
I nearly had the heart palpitations the night that I was talking about F. Scott Fitzgerald and my sister asked who that was. When I said that he was the author that wrote The Great Gatsby, she replied “I never had to read The Great Gatsby in high school.” Y’all...I nearly fell out. That’s one of the classics...that’s one of my favorite books. I was astounded. I might add here, that my sister loved the first movie made of it, and watching the new version tonight has got her dying to read the book. My heart is happy.
I was always the girl that could be found in the corner reading a book. I loved to read from an early age, and my mama promoted it. Growing up, it literally pained me that Rheba hated reading for so long. Partially, I’d like to blame the Accelerated Reading program. None of the books that she was “allowed” to read piqued her interest in any way. Finally, she was blessed to have a teacher that said “Rheba, I want to you to find a book that interests you...never mind the reading level.” It was then that she found the Heartland series, and got hooked. Since then, she has enjoyed reading when she had the time.
I was truly blessed to have great teachers at Chiefland Elementary, Middle, and High School. One of my absolute favorite teachers ever would have to be Mrs. Flemming (I knew her as Mrs. Slade), because she opened our eyes and instilled such a love of the classics in our English Honors class. She is one of the greats, as far as I’m concerned.
I cannot even express how important I find reading. It provides an outlet. It provides an escape. It gives you an opportunity to travel, to see things you never would...it builds your imagination.
So, this Summer...I urge you to read. I urge you to promote reading in your household and encourage your kids to read. If you can’t afford to go into the bookstore and buy a pile of books, I would encourage you to visit Abebooks.com or visit your public library.
I would like to supply some recommendations, really all across the board.
Some of my favorites would have to be Little Critter books, Berenstein Bear books, Junie B. Jones, Beverly Cleary books (such as Ramona and Beezus) for the slightly older crowd; and I’ve heard rave reviews for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I think it’s important for kids to find books they’re interested in. Summer is a time where they don’t have to read and test on books, so let them find the things that they WANT to read, which might build their reading skills and be beneficial next school year.
There are a few books that stick out in my mind for the maybe age 10-12 reader:
Summer of my German Soldier--this was one of my favorite books. Not only was it extremely well written, it was also an important book. It opened my eyes to see that not everything is always as it seems.
Jacob Have I Loved--a book of sibling rivalry and a coming-of-age. Spectacular.
To Kill a Mockingbird--Such an important book.
Classics I recommend: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, or any of the Jane Austen books
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann--This book has a very Fitzgerald feel to it. Very well-written.
The Secret History--This book was Donna Tartt’s first novel. Looking at it from the writing perspective, I was amazed that this was her first novel. This book, I felt, had some similarities to The Lord of the Flies, but I loved it.
Just for Laughs:
Jenn Lancaster’s Bitter is the New Black; Bright Lights, Big Ass; or Such a Pretty Fat
Stephanie McAfee’s Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, and it’s sequel Happily Ever Madder
Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Mary Kay Andrews: One of my favorite Summer-read authors. Her books include: Spring Fling; The Fixer-Upper; Summer Rental; Little Bitty Lies; and Hissy Fit.
Summer in the South by Cathy Holten--Mystery, Ghosts, alcohol-filled parties, and Sweet Tea.
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
Before there was Fifty Shades of Gray:
My all-time favorite author is without a doubt Grace Metalious. She wrote Peyton Place. I realize that it is frowned upon by my Grandmother’s generation, as it was banned in libraries and bookstores all across the country. Although it was racy and provocative in its time, to read it today it is quite mild. Anyone who enjoys small town life can appreciate its content. I’ll revert to the imagery that Metalious mentioned, (in any small town) sometimes when you turn over a rock, you begin to see all the things that crawl under it.
And if you like Peyton Place, you will also enjoy her sequel Return to Peyton Place, The Tight White Collar, and No Adam in Eden.
I urge y’all to read this summer. Find what interests y’all and dive in!