I love the concept of Summer Reading. It often seems that non-academic reading is a pleasure that needs to be put off during the semester. If one does indulge the non-academic reading habit it needs to be kept secret, like watching Smash. Despite my responsibilities both as a student and as teaching assistant this summer, I plan to use the extra hours of daylight to dip into some juicy beach reads.
In order to manage my ever-growing list of books I want to read, I use a service called Goodreads. Goodreads is a social network exclusively devoted to sharing book suggestions, share what you are currently reading, and give ratings and reviews to those books. I have an active Goodreads community that is dangerous to look at because I end up adding their recently read books to my To-Be-Read pile. It also has a smartphone app so if I find myself at the library or bookstore, I can consult my list when I need it. Most recently I picked up Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. The sequel to this book was highlight in the New York Times “Books for Basking” and a friend had reviewed it on Goodreads, so I went for it. I’ve been reading it in the backyard as my kids play in the sandbox and loving every minute.
This summer on June 7th, a social media campaign is under way for all ages to share Summer Reading picks. We are all encouraged to head over to Twitter with our book titles and tag them with #summerreading. For more information, see this blog post from the New York Times Learning Network.
Finally, I plan to do a little psuedo-academic reading. I have devoted time to working my way through everything that B.F. Skinner wrote for what I’ve dubbed “The Summer of Skinner.” Although this is tangentially related to my research interests and doctoral work, it’s a stretch. Feel free to join me in my Skinner box, too. ?
What are your summer reading plans? Any good book suggestions? Be sure to share them in the comments!
[Image by Flickr user Rsms and used under the Creative Commons license]
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From all of us at GradHacker: we hope you’re having a great start to the summer. We’ll be back in August!
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Yes, “summer reading” should not be a “guilty pleasure” to be enjoyed only during the summer months, but that is surely the reality for many of us grad students. I remember during my first two years in the program, I read nothing-zilch, zero, not one thing! This was a sad time in my life when every waking hour was consumed by coursework and just surviving. Then, once I was in the dissertation phase, I made a concerted effort to make time for reading. I rejoined the book club I left when I started the program, and that got me into the groove of reading again. Now I am a member of 4 book clubs (I find it helps me to keep reading, knowing that I will be discussing these books with others) and I have set myself a reading goal for 2012 on Goodreads-45 books for the year! Reading again has rejuvenated me and given me much needed perspective and balance in life. I hope you will get back to regular reading again, too.
What a great story, Athena. Thanks so much for sharing the value you get from pleasure reading. I firmly believe our hard-working grad student brains deserve a little time to roam free of academic constraints in order to reach their full potentials. Thanks for the comments and see you around GoodReads!
I agree…I wish certain types of reading weren’t delegated to summer. I tend to associate reading fiction with summer and nonfiction with the academic year…this is an arbitrary distinction that really makes no sense but it is sort of stuck in my head. Like Athena I read only what I had to read for a long time and as I write about here:
http://stillwaterhistorians.com/2012/05/23/a-novel-idea/ it took me a long time to relearn how to read fiction when I was out from under the mountain that is grad school. I like the idea of using Goodreads to keep track. I often come across a book and promptly forget the reference.
Thanks for the link, Katherine. It’s good to know that reading fiction is more essential to a healthy balance in graduate school.
[…] I know that I am not alone in setting reading goals for the summer months. Both the NY Times and Grad Hacker want to kick off the #summerreading social media campaign on June 7th. I was able start on my […]