When your summer bucket list is too long…

Like most teachers (and students, I’m sure), by the time 4th marking period rolls around, I’m already dreaming of all the things I’m going to do once the summer begins. Finally, I say to myself, now I have the time to do everything I’ve been wanting to do, all the projects around the house that have gone neglected during the school year. Every room in the house needs a fresh coat of paint, the boys’ rooms need remodeling, as does our very outdated 1970s laundry room (our stylish 1980s kitchen is just too big a project to tackle any time soon).

I’ve been on vacation officially for two weeks (our last day was June 24). How much of my grand remodeling have I gotten done? Well, let’s just say that I folded the laundry over the weekend and yesterday’s dishes are still waiting for me in the kitchen sink. My husband dusted and vacuumed over the weekend – can I count that?

FullSizeRenderThen there’s my summer reading list. For the last few weeks, I’ve been tucking away the books I wanted to read this summer on a shelf in the living room. This morning I made the mistake of pulling them out and stacking them in a pile. Suddenly, painting the entire house doesn’t seem as daunting a task.

I’m reminded of a little plaque my mom used to keep by the kitchen sink: “Thank God for dirty dishes; they have a tale to tell. While others may go hungry, we’re eating very well.”

I suppose I’m doubly blessed then with a sink of dirty dishes and too many books on my “on deck” list.

But the good news is that the two books I have finished so far have been wonderful, Matthew Quick’s Boy21, which I had been meaning to read for a while, and Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, which turned out to be one of my favorite reads in some time. Magical realism, gorgeous writing, generational saga, and strong female leads – just lovely. As you can see in the picture above, Boy21 and Ava Lavender are in my first pile: books I’ve finished.

The second pile are books I’m currently reading. This pile includes three professional texts. I’m about halfway through both In the Best Interest of Students and the third ed. of In the Middle and loving both. If I’m even half the teacher that Gallagher and Atwell are, I’d be happy. I’m also currently re-reading Notice and Note to prep a unit that starts the school year. The remaining books I’m currently reading include Isle of the Lost, which I’m reading to the boys, In the Time of Butterflies, which is one of the choices on our school’s summer reading, and The Clash of Kings, the second book in the Game of Thrones series.  Like the Harry Potter experience circa 2007 (I read all seven books in 17 days that July), I’m intent on finishing all of the GoT saga by the end of this summer. I did finally binge-watch all of Downton Abbey, so GoT is next. Interestingly, the worlds of the Starks and Granthams have more in common than you’d think. The thought of a scene with the Countess Dowager and Tyrion Lannister makes me smile.

Perhaps next summer I’ll finally get to Breaking Bad.

Then there’s the rest of the massive pile of books I still want to read on the right, most of which are books I’d like to read in time to book talk for my students this fall. In total, it’s about 30 books over the next 8 weeks.

If only Hermione’s time turner were real.


slice of lifeThis post is part of the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers, a weekly invitation to share a snapshot of ordinary life through writing.

7 thoughts on “When your summer bucket list is too long…

  1. I know the feeling – I had two piles on my kitchen tables, books I’ve read and books to read, and I mixed them into bags of books under the table last week because the size of the “to-read” pile was stressing me out!

    I just read Boy21 last week and really loved it; a number of my students had enjoyed it and recommended it to me. It’ll be high on my recommendation list for students this fall! A lot of my kids also loved Liars, Inc. – it’s a fast read and has lots of twists that I didn’t predict. I read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl the first week of summer and liked it, but it’s not one of my favorites this summer. I’d be curious to see the movie to see how it compares to the book though.

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    • Yes, Boy21 was wonderful! I’ve read several of his other books, and I think Boy21 is just as good, if not better. I’m already thinking of a few students I know who would like it (many of my students really liked Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock). I heard the same thing from a student about Liars, Inc., which is one reason I took it home to read – always looking for that next book to hook students. 🙂 If you’re on Goodreads, come friend me so we can compare books! 🙂

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  2. Boy do I relate to this. I’ve got three piles going. One for fiction, stacked. One for professional, lined up on my former desk now bookshelf. And one for library books that I can’t forget to return. And then there’s my blog feed. I hope I’m not over-eating again!

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  3. I see myself in this and just have to smile! I still overplan for my summer with projects I know have a slim chance of getting completed! But instead of fretting, I (like you) dig into a pile of books and know this refreshes my teaching life! Thankful as an adult to wile away my summer hours learning! 🙂

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  4. Piles of books to dive into never seems to get smaller, and that’s probably a good thing. I liked your mother’s quote and definitely think it can apply to books as well as dishes.

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  5. My younger sister visited me a week ago. As she walked into the living room, she uttered the following: “I take it that you’ll be catching up on your reading!”

    I couldn’t help but to laughed as I peered over her shoulder at the random stacked of books on the coffee table and ottoman.

    I can sooooo relate to your bucket list for the summer!

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  6. Summer list is always too long! But reading is a priority–should be a prority, anyway. I think perhaps you have inspired me to do the same thing with the books I want to read this summer, sort them into stacks. They are too quiet when they are put away on the shelf. I read In the Time of the Butterflies many years ago, when it was new–but it has stayed with me. I hope you enjoy it.

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