If you are reading this post in May of 2018, you’ve no doubt seen the Jimmy Kimmel video “Can You Name A Book?” in which people can’t name a book.
This got us to thinking…
Not only can we name actual books here in the Writing Center, but we have a few to recommend for your summer reading. We’ve listed those at the bottom of this article.
Then, this got us to thinking even further…
WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING THIS SUMMER? Use the comment section below to chime in. (And if you don’t have a reading plan for the summer, perhaps our lists at the bottom, and the following blog post from Jesse Britt may encourage you to do so. He talks about reading and a lot of other other valuable ideas you can consider over the summer.)
Summer and School Skills
by Jesse Britt
I know a title with the words “summer” and “school” sounds as if I’m talking to nerds. Whenever my teachers or parents told me I needed to “keep up my skills through the summer” back in elementary school, they meant “practice some math problems.” For the majority of us, doing math problems is something we never want to do, let alone during our summer vacations. Good news! I’m not going to tell you to do math problems over this break for which we’ve waited so long. Instead, here are a couple suggestions for things you can do to keep your brain in shape over the summer.
Reading something! This can be pretty much anything, it does not need to be a collection of scholarly articles. Reading in general keeps you thinking and analyzing. This way, you won’t feel like you’re being punched in the face when you get back for the fall semester, at least not as hard. So read! You can read an older classic like This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, or you could pick up a modern novel like David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. If you’re unsure what to read, ask an employee at the bookstore or look at some charts online. If you’re apprehensive about starting a new book, bookstore employees can help you find a shorter one that’s easier to finish. And remember not to feel pressured to completely finish a summer book, because reading it is your choice and not that of one of your instructors.
You can also look at articles in newspapers or journals. This is especially convenient since there are so many online articles, many of which are online only. Additionally, you can listen to something. There are many podcasts and audiobooks available that can make you think. The advantage to these is that you can use them while doing something else, whether you’re driving or mowing the lawn.
Finally, you can take a summer class. I know many people hate the idea of this, both because school can be boring and online courses are relatively expensive. However, if you have a little extra time and money, summer courses are a fantastic investment. In addition to keeping your mind fresh, they help you get ahead on your credits at the university. Be careful though—you may want to save important courses, such as those for your major(s), for in-person classes.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re doing something. Going back to school after a long break can feel like trying to run a marathon when you haven’t ran in a month. Keep your mind strong and have fun!
SUMMER READING SUGGESTIONS FROM THE WRITING CENTER
Samantha Schroeder recommends: On Writing by Stephen King, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown.
Shohei Downing recommends: Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, and The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac.
Jon Meyers recommends: Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan, and The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. (Personal Note from Jon Meyers: All adults should read Winnie-the-Pooh at least once a year. I personally reread it every January to start out my year on the right track. Each time you read it, the one-year-older you will see things you had not noticed a year prior. To explore this train-of-thought further, consider: “A bear of very little brain:
Positive psychology themes in the stories of Winnie the Pooh” by Lizette Dohmen.)