The books I’ve read for August pretty much represent the broad range of my reading life.
Tomato Rhapsody by Adam Schell is a wild romp through medieval Tuscany as the Jewish grandson of the accountant for Christopher Columbus introduces the sensual joys of the tomato to his village neighbors, including the love of his life, the queen of the olive groves. This was a perfect summer read -- intelligent, outrageously fun, and a little naughty.
Octopus Oyster Hermit Crab Snail: A Poem of the Sea by Sara Anderson allowed me to indulge in my love of picture books and poetry, while reminiscing about snorkeling off the shores of Oahu. The poem introduces readers to the inhabitants of the ocean, its illustrations as luscious as the lovely, lyrical rhymes of the poem and a gentle tugging rhythm to remind us of the movement of the sea itself.
I dipped into Leading the New Literacies, by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, to refresh and reinvigorate my thinking about education and the changes it must embrace to meet the needs of today’s students. It’s a good read, if you are a teacher or administrator, to keep your head in the game.
Palace of Desire (reading-in-progress) by Naguib Mahfouz is the second book of his Cairo Trilogy, which introduces us to mid-20th century Egypt through the eyes of members of a merchant family. I was first introduced to Mahfouz when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, and I have been teaching the first book in his trilogy, Palace Walk, ever since. His themes are universal, though his setting may be strangely exotic to Western readers. For at least two decades, I’ve explored the Middle Eastern perspective in literature, and I feel enriched as a reader and a human being as a result. Reading globally has never been needed more! I’m halfway through the second book, and now I can’t wait for the last, Sugar Street.
It has been strange to shift my reading from the Young Adult focus that has captured my attention for the past four years. It is equally strange to, once again, begin reading for myself in the summer rather than reading to prepare for the new school year. I am pleased to learn that there is some overlap of the two approaches. It tells me something about what I truly love: well-written, beautiful books of all kinds.
This blog post is an extended version of my contribution to the “August Wrap-Up” challenge as part of the #challengebookamajig on Instagram. I’ve enjoyed joining the #bookstagram gang -- it has inspired me to read, introduced me to a gaggle of interesting books, reawakened a dormant interest in photography (even if it’s just with my iPhone), and invited me to glimpse the reading habits of real readers around the world. It has also been a boatload of fun.
By the way, you can friend me on Goodreads at Susan Lucille Davis. That’s where I’ve linked these books and acquired the photos of them. I'm on Instagram at Susan Lucille Davis too. See you there, when you are not engrossed in a book!