Category: Reading

A Pivot in my Summer Reading

As a big fan of the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and the What Should I Read Next podcast, my original pan for this summer was to use her Summer Reading Guide to enjoy some new releases in categories I might not usually read. I still absolutely recommend this option if that’s your speed. But right now it’s just not where my heart is. The recent strengthening of the social justice movement has really hit home. It’s time for me to stop living in my white privilege bubble and read, learn and take action to make this world a better place. That also includes educating and having conversations with my children.

I compiled all of the reading recommendations that I’ve gotten from friends and seen on social media into a google document. I’m sharing this document (here) as a read-only because you’ll see that I have columns of notes for myself. Feel free to make a copy to use for your own purposes. I’ll continue to share my reading progress here. I’m in the middle of So you Want to Talk about Race and I have a few books for my kids that should arrive early this week that I’ll read next before I pass them off to them. A group of friends from my college sorority will also be reading How to be an Antiracist together so we can talk about it. My reading will also include fiction by non-white authors.

I’ve heard from friends who are POC that they’re afraid that white people like myself will stop at reading about these issues and not take action. I understand that fear and take it to heart. I know for myself that I need to be educated on an issue before I take action. I also understand that there are small steps I can take now. To that end, I will be choosing an organization to donate 50% of all sales in July and will match that with a personal donation. More on this to come!

How has this issue affected you and what steps are you taking?

What I’ve Been Reading

I decided in December 2019 that I was going to take on the Modern Mrs. Darcy (MMD) 2020 Reading Challenge as a way to add some structure to my reading life. I also promised my kids that I would read the entire Harry Potter series this year so I found a way to weave that into the challenge. I read the first book around the time that it was released, but never read any of the others. My boys have both read the entire series and all 3 kids have watched the movies many times, so it’s time for mom to catch up!

Here’s what my MMD 2020 Reading Challenge list looks like so far (I filled in the books I’ve already read):

A book published in the decade you were bornThe Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
A debut novelEverything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
A book recommended by a source you trust:
A book by a local authorMrs. Everything, Jennifer Weiner (from Philadelphia)
A book outside your (genre) comfort zone11/22/63, Steven King
A book in translationThe Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A book nominated for an award in 2020:
A re-readActs of Faith, Erich Segal
A classic you didn’t read in school:
Three books by the same authorHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling

I was nervous about taking on a Steven King book – I’m not a fan of horror movies and this is the longest book I’ve ever read BY FAR. But this story is gripping! I did not love Everything I Never Told You. In hindsight I’m thankful I read it in one day because the story is difficult and depressing. I’ve read a lot of Erich Segal’s novels – he’s also the author that wrote the 1970’s movie Love Story – I find his stories and characters engaging. The Doctors is another favorite of his and I may have to reread that one also.

The one category that I’m stuck on is “a classic that you didn’t read in school.” I requested Jane Eyre from the library this spring and was only a few pages in when I gave up on it. I think I need something that’s more of a modern classic with text that isn’t so difficult to understand (a lighter read for these trying times). What suggestions do you have for me? Drop them in the comments below.

Other books I’ve read this year outside of the 2020 MMD challenge –
The Year of No Nonsense: How to Get Over Yourself and On with Your Own Life – Meredith Atwood
Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow: Lessons from an Epic Friendship That Went the Distance – Susan Lacke
Untamed – Glennon Doyle

Modern Mrs. Darcy also just released her Summer Reading Guide today! It’s broken down into several categories and my plan is to start by reading one book from each category and then go around again. You can get the guide here! I already have Big Summer on order and requested a few other ebooks from the library.