Tag Archives: summer reading

Putting Aside My Ear Buds

Lately my friends (Cathy’s) have been talking about two novels that they all love.  As these books are not available in audio format yet, I am setting aside my ear buds and taking up hard copy for the summer.  The books, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and The Girls by Emma Cline, have rave reviews on line as well as from my friends.  Below are the online summaries I found to prepare myself for my literacy journey:

The Girls

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.


The Girls

The Girl on the Train

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? 

Girl on train

It has been a few years since I delved into a hard copy novel and I am curious about how it will feel.  I am actually quite attached audio books now.  No listening in the dark for the next few weeks, but no ear bud cords to untangle either.  Should be interesting.  I’ll let you know what I prefer!

Try a Graphic Novel this summer…

As summer vacation time draws nearer and schools in Ontario prepare for the summer break, teachers often think of ways to encourage children to read over the summer.  Inspiring students who ‘hate to read’ can be quite a challenge.  The authors of the blog teachingauthors.com  highly recommend graphic novels. (Graphic novels are not to be confused with Manga novels which are a genre unto themselves).  Graphic novels are similar to comic books in that they rely heavily on illustrations to convey meaning and the text is short.

Author Mary Ann Rodman suggests the following novels for students:

Young Adult

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans—Don Brown

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir–Maggie Thrash.

Nimona-Noelle Stevenson

In Real Life–Cory Doctorow

Middle school

Anything by Raina Teigemeier (e.g., Drama)

The Dumbest Idea Ever!–Jimmy Gownley

Roller Girl–Victoria Jamieson

Sunny Side Up–Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Into the Volcano–Don Wood.

Flora & Ulysses–Kate DiCamillo, K.G.Campbell

The Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust–Loic Dauvillier.

The Lost Boy–Greg Ruth

If you haven’t read a graphic novel, I (Cathy) suggest you try one.  The experience may surprise you.  The content can be quite sophisticated and intense.  When I taught a teacher education focused children’s literature course, I used the book Persepolis to introduce my teacher candidates to graphic novels.  Persepolis is an autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. (The title is a reference to the ancient capital of the Persian EmpirePersepolis). The book depicts religious, political, and economic struggle.  Simplistic, but powerful.

Try one this summer!