What are YOUR Summer Reading Plans?

reading 2Before we take off for the summer, here’s  a piece of news for all to celebrate about! A recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that “For the first time in more than 25 years, American adults are reading more literature”! The biggest increase in reading rates is happening among young adults, ages 18-24. Hard to believe? For more info on the study, check for yourself NEA’s News Room.

While ConXn blog has been preparing for its own summer vacation (we will be back in September with more wonderful posts!), the editors of COCC’s blog invited COCC staff and faculty to tell us about their summer reading plans or other book recommendations they wished to share.  So, take a pen and add to your own list:

Stacey Donohue:

  • Straight Man by Richard Russo (a re-read: it’s truly The. Funniest. Academic. Novel. Ever.)
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (I heard it’s a light, uplifting read)
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (different stories about people in a small Maine town—Olive is the recurring character in each story—it’s beautifully written so far)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (really, I’ve never read it!)
  • Home by Marilyn Robinson
  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  • Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (Obama was caught reading it recently)
  • The Women by TC Boyle (another novel about Frank Lloyd Wright’s various women)
  • The English Major by Jim Harrison
  • Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber
  • Things I’ve Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi (author of Reading Lolita in Tehran)
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (another re-read—this is the “restored” edition with some of the deleted sections included)
  • Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James and Hemingway by Joyce Carol Oates
  • A Thousand Years Over a Host Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes and Remembrances by Laura Schenone
  • How Fiction Works by James Wood

Jonathan Esterman:

  •  Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
  •  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  • The Holy Bible
  • Walking with God  by John Eldredge

Beth Wickham

  • The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Ann Schafer
  • The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Karen Huck

  • Dog Years by Mark Doty
  • Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs by Amy Hempel and Jim Shepard
  • Doggerel: Poems About Dogs (edited by) Carmela Ciuraru
  • Dog Training For Dummies by Jack Volhard and Wendy Volhard

Sara Krempel

  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

Monica Vines

  • Tweak by Nic Sheff
  • Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
  • Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Rise Quay

  • First of all, I have a tradition.  At the end of each term, I read Momma Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White.  It is a charming book and always makes me laugh out loud.  A friend gave it to me in graduate school and I find it (and a tall glass of iced tea) sets me up for summer. 
  •  I just received Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea.  I read his The Hummingbird’s Daughter a few years ago—and found it to be one of my all-time favorites, so I have high hopes for this one. 
  • Also on my “starting list” are Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (a Pulitzer winner and author of The Namesake) and a non-fiction title, America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation by Kenneth C. Davis. 
  • I rescued Pontoon by Garrison Keillor from the remainder table at B&N….and loved it. It would be a good summer read, too.

John Shannon

  • Just finished Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox
  • Inkheart, Inkdeath and Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
  • How Fiction Works by James Wood
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown [the upcoming NEW book in the famous DaVinci Code series)
  • The Starter by Scott Sigler


  • Immortals by Tracy Hickman
  • Heaven Seasons 1 thru 5 by Mur Lafferty
  • The “Share” series by Nathan Lowell
  • Tales of the South Coast

Michele DeSilva

  • I am currently reading a book called Eating the Sun, about photosynthesis.
  • I am planning on reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith;
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides;  
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, because I’ve heard it’s interesting;
  • The Waves by Virginia Woolf;
  • and, because it sounded good in an NPR interview I heard, Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See.
  • I’ll also be catching up on all those back issues of the New Yorker and American Poetry Review that have been piling up around my house throughout the year.

Julie Keener

  • Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison 
  • Run by Ann Patchett
  • The Interior by Lisa See
  • Lucky Girl by Lei-Ling Hopgood
  • In Code by Sarah Flannery
  • Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?  By Anthony E. Wolf
  • Habits of Mind by Carol Dweck
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind – 16 Essential Characteristics for Success by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick

plus at several kids books, including, 

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Beverly Adler

  • Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
  • Outliers : the story of success by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Amy Harper

  • With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India by Gayatri Reddy
  • Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway
  • The Afterlife is Where We Come From: The Culture of Infancy in West Africa by Alma Gottlieb
  • In Amma’s Healing room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India by Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger
  • Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber
  • Snow by Orhan Pamuk
  • City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin
  • Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
  • Murder on Waverly Place by Victoria Thompson
  • Dead Water by Barbara Hambly
  • The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer
  • Catch up on the “…in Death” series by JD Robb
  • Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood series) by JR Ward
  • The Promise by TJ Bennett
  • Das Parfum: Die Geschichte eines Morders by Patrick SüsekindAudio books (for the drive to Montana and back)
  • Song Yet Sung by James McBride
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson an David Oliver Relin

Andria Woodell

  • The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston
  • Lincoln Child Deeper by Jeff Long (the sequel to The Descent–AWESOME read!)
  • Raising Atlantis by Thomas Greanias
  • A Primer in Positive Psychology by Christopher Peterson
  • and pretty much anything else on my bookshelf that I haven’t read yet!

Annemarie Hamlin

  • I just started a book called Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.  A friend recently pushed this into my hands and said I had to read it. It is two interwined stories–one of a French girl taken away from Paris with her Jewish family during the Holocaust, and one of a contemporary American woman living in France. It looks like it will be a tear-jerker.
  • Next I’m going to read Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, a book about the woman who had an affair with Frank Loyd Wright and lived a somewhat tragic life (I’m told).
  • I’m also going to catch up a little bit of recent juvenille literature so that I can keep up with my kids: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, and Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles.

Tina Hovekamp

  • Little Big Man and The return of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger  – American classics that everybody should read!
  • Sometimes a great notion  by Ken Kesey  – Oregon author;  wonderful book with powerful depiction of characters and of our state’s logging history/culture.
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis – another classic of the American literature with a critical look at the narrow-mindedness and unimaginative life of people in a small town in the Midwest.
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck – for me, one of the best of Steinbeck’s novels!
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison –truly a wonderful, powerful read!
  • A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park – this is one of the best children’s books I’ve read. It won the 2002 Newbery Medal, awarded for excellence in children’s literature; a great read even for adults!

Tom Barry

  • Lonesome Dove: Larry McMurtry
  • Consuming Kids: Susan Linn
  • The End of Faith: Sam Harris
  • Interaction Ritual: Erving Goffman
  • Born to Shop: Juliet Schor 



For more titles, visit the following links: The New York Times has posted their Summer Reading suggestions and NPR gives us Seattle’s librarian diva, Nancy Pearl’s, recommendations for summer reading (in addition to a list of summer books in general).

And don’t forget…  ConXn WANTS to publish you, too! We hope that summer reading will be an inspiration for your own writing on a topic that interests you. For more information on ConXn’s submission guidelines visit https://cocclib.wordpress.com/about/. Help us build our campus community!


3 Responses to What are YOUR Summer Reading Plans?

  1. Andria says:

    Saw this article on newsweek and decided to post it here. It a list of 50 recommended books of today. I might be checking out a few myself :-)!


  2. I plan to read :

    * Swimming by Keegan
    * Burnt Shadows by Shamsie
    * A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Hanif
    * Curfewed Night by Peer
    * Unaccustomed Earth by Lahiri

  3. Here is a summer reading challenge: finish David Foster Wallace’s 1000 page novel, Infinite Jest, by Sept. 22nd: http://infinitesummer.org/

    I’m not so sure I want to give up the dozens of other novels I want to read to focus on what looks to be a multilayered, allusive, baggy monster of a novel, but I do recommend Wallace’s essays and short stories (I used his fish parable, reprinted in the collection This Is Water, in a speech I gave recently).

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