Summertime is the time for me to read books. Yes, real, sniffable, hold them in your hands and try not to bend the spine too much, books. My morning commute during the school year is filled with podcast listening, but with good weather forecast for the next few months I’m excited to update last years #summerreads blog post. Some of last years books still resonate with me and continued to shape my behavior today. I wonder if this years selection will do the same. Some of these books I’ll read for pleasure, some for personal and professional development, and hopefully some will fulfill both of those categories. At the end of the blog post I share some book list suggestions from other educators and bloggers. There WILL be something in this blog post for everybody.
Click on any of the links to take you to Amazon, but do also support your local book seller and library!
Running With Mindfulness by William Pullen ($10.55)
I first heard of William Pullen from his TEDx talk and his podcast interview with Dale Sidebottom and was immediately drawn to his concept of ’empathy walks’. As I explore ways in which I can teach walking in #PhysEd, communication skills in #HealthEd and mindfulness practice in all areas of my instruction, this book looks like it has a wealth of great ideas. There are unique guided runs and written reflection tasks, including instruction as to how my students can develop empathy through a process of questions, answers and summary while walking together. Not only has Pullen written a very accessible book, but he’s also developed a free, interactive iOS app to reinforce his message.
The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters by Tricia Rose ($15.29)
I’ve been on a real Hip Hop kick ever since I heard that Hip Hop Public Health were bringing Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels to #SHAPETampa. I’ve listened since the 80’s but now that ‘old school’ is being referred to as ‘classic’ hip hop, and I see myself in my old age as ‘classic’ I find myself drawn to reading more academic texts regarding the genre. This book promises to draw parallels between how society talks about race and how society talks about hip hop. The book has been described as ‘smart, provocative, analytical and gutsy’ and I’ll have as much fun reading this as I will listening to my old mix tapes.
Shout out to my school library for stocking this book and having it on display when I was looking for #summerreads inspiration.
The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas ($24.92)
I know I should never judge a book by its cover, but what a cover! One of the joys of Twitter is finding new communities of passionate educators, and the Project Lit Community is a fine example. their promotion of Young Adult (YA) novels featuring characters of color has encouraged me to read more
widely wisely and also look at books for my younger family members through a new lens.
As a child it was easy for me to escape in books, but only now do I realize that that’s easier for some than others. The Dark Fantastic reveals the lack of diversity in children’s and YA media as not only a lack of representation but also a lack of imagination.
I hope that reading this book will allow me to develop the language that I need to speak about this situation more effectively. Working in a predominantly white school it is important for me to continue to educate myself on the ways in which doors have been closed for too many, for too long.
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the Worlds Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham ($15.10)
It’s been a minute since a TV series has had me hooked, and ‘Chernobyl’ the recent HBO drama series is proving to be gripping. Its well written, well directed, well shot and it’s got me asking more questions to which I need answers. The show is accompanied by an awesome podcast, which made mention of this book which has been years in the making. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives I’m hoping that it will live up to the hype that it’s receiving on social media. My local library uses the Libby app and I’ll be reading this on my kindle during various road trips over the summer.
Fixing Sex by Katrina Karkazis ($8.11 – used)
I first discovered the author when she guested on the podcast mentioned below and she really helped me understand the deeper layers that exist in sport when dealing with matters related to testosterone levels, and also intersex athletes. Her new book, Testosterone: The Unauthorized Autobiography comes out in October and I couldn’t wait that long to read her work. Reading this book will help add to my knowledge and understanding of the experience of intersex individuals. The book appears to be a deep read but I’m certain that I’ll be interested in what the author has to say as she unravels the historical, technological, social, and political forces that have culminated in debates surrounding intersexuality. I picked up a used copy of this book and recommend that you search for used, nearly new copies of books if you have an insatiable reading habit like I do.
Listen to the author in this awesome Edge of Sports podcast episode
Born to Walk by Dan Rubinstein ($16.95)
I’m currently creating a #walkingcurriculum and have been looking for great texts to help encourage my students to #getoutside. I bought the kindle version of A Walking Curriculum by Gillian Judson which not only had some great SEL ideas but also quoted Dan Rubinstein enough times for me to be intrigued. Born to Walk has 8, one word, chapters and I’m most interested in Body, Mind and Family, but Spirit and Creativity have also peaked my interest. Society, Economy and Politics are the final three chapters which sound like they’ll make for a great read. Be sure to follow both Dan and Gillian on social media.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson ($11.59)
My reading inspiration comes from a number of sources, and this book was recommended in Outside Magazine. I picked up a cheap annual subscription via DiscountMags, which is a great source for affordable magazines.
The author tells the gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, a theft of dead rare birds from a museum and one man’s relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature. The story sounds like it will be a quirky read with elements of history, science, and a much-needed dose of Britishness.
This is the only book on my list that I have already read, but I need to go back and digest everything shared by the author. It’s an engaging read and has helped me hone my presentation skills when delivering sessions at conferences. However, the next few months will see me standing on stage delivering keynotes and so I want to continue to refine my speaking skills so that I am able to get my message across in an effective manner. Look out for me appearing on a stage in NC, OR, AZ, KY and IL in the next 6 months.
Books by Brené Brown seem to be all over my social media feed and with 6 books, one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, a Netflix special, an amazing website that includes reading guides and a newsletter to which you can subscribe, it’s difficult to avoid the temptation to check out her work.
I selected Dare to Lead as it is puts two of her other books Daring Greatly and Rising Strong into practice at work and I’d like to hone my leadership skillset. The book also claims to be tactical, actionable, and great for team/group/org reads (perhaps it could be a #slowchatbookclub summer read?). There are free downloadable workbooks and tools included in the interactive guide, and it’s available as an audiobook on the Libby app via my local library.
Brené Brown has a ton of great free downloads for you to check out.
Whenever I reach out to my PLN for book suggestions I receive a wealth of great ideas. I have collated these into a Twitter moment and you can check the link and get lost among a long list of essential reads.
Other reading lists that you might like:
The Best Summer Books of 2019 from The Week
UC Berkeley has a cool summer reading list for new students with their theme this year being Between Worlds
2019 Summer Reading List from We’re The People. A curated summer reading list that celebrates diversity and all its intersections.
The Great American Read downloadable checklist of 100 great books.
20 Books to Read This Summer from the Washington Post.
75 Books to Read This Summer from the New York Times.
Please share what books you plan on reading this summer on social media or in the comments section below.