Authors’ Summer Reading Lists

June 13th, 2010 by

Soon summer will be in full swing, and hopefully you’ve already started tackling your summer reading lists! Karen and I did some sleuthing and discovered that authors have summer reading lists too โ€” check out what some of your favorite authors are planning to read in the coming months. (Thanks to School Library Journal for the scoop.)

Kimberly Willis Holt, author of Piper Reed, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, and The Water Seeker:

Kathi Appelt’s Keeper will be among the first. 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass looks delightful enough to slip into my picnic basket. Elsa Hahne’s You Are Where You Eat might be a cookbook, but the stories about New Orleans neighborhoods and the folks that live there add a dimension to my reading palate like a hefty dose of New Orleans hot sauce splashed on red beans and rice. And who knows? Maybe I’ll take the book into the kitchen.


Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of The Wonder Book:

Because I hope/plan/pray to finish my (first) novel this summer and worry about the influence of literary giants and their magnificent voices seeping into my easily distractible brain, I will (sadly) be trying NOT to read much this summer. This will be a first, and every fiber in my body will be aching to read, I assure you. Can you ask me this question again in September?

So, there you have it โ€” the only reason that it’s okay NOT to read: to write. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Yes, I know there’s sleeping, eating, breathing, exercising… and a lot more reasons. But you know what I mean.)

From Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why:
[NOTE: This is a book for teens with some pretty heavy themes, so we’re not recommending this one for you guys โ€” but we are into what this author is reading this summer!]

New middle-grade fiction: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

Middle-grade fiction that I loved as a child and I’d like to see if I can understand why (it’ll be depressing if I can’t): Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald, and The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois.

Middle-grade fiction that I did not love as a child and I’d like to see if my tastes have changed (I doubt they have): Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.

Middle-grade fiction that I always wanted to read as a child but apparently never got around to (my inner-child will be pleased): James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

I like this very analytical approach Jay Asher has taken.

From Daniel Pinkwater, author of Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl and The Hoboken Chicken Emergency:

I was a nightmare of a student โ€” or I would have been if any of my teachers cared to notice. I was mistrustful, suspicious, and resistant. I made a point of never reading assigned books, and I kept this up all the way through college. “Did you read the assignment?” “No, but I found this other book.”

As soon as school was over, every summer became a marathon of reading my own choices โ€” at least a book a day. Later, when I became a writer, I discovered a trick: If I didn’t read, I would be compelled to write, just to get my fiction fix. The more I wrote, and the more projects I had in hand, the less I would read in order to keep myself going, until I did no reading at all, except for little vacations from writing, when I would gobble up books in the old way. Summer, which for the first half of my life had been the great reading season, also turns out to be a great writing season.

It's a whale of a book!

This summer I expect to be working on a novel, so my summer reading list is as follows: nothing at all, if possible. Unless the novel gets stuck, in which case I might read [Miguel De Cervantes’] Don Quixote, The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior by Clarence Pfaffenberger… I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb, The Meaning of Modern Sculpture by R. H. Wilenski, or, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick… there are plenty of books lying around.

Mr. Pinkwater, The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior looks intriguing, but I think you should tackle I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President before Moby-Dick… Otherwise you’ll never finish the novel you’re writing! [NOTE: Except for I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President, all of Daniel Pinkwater’s summer reading pics were written for adults. But hey, if you’re up for a challenge…]

So that’s what some authors are reading this summer. How about you? What’s on YOUR summer reading list?

โ€” Nancy

Nancy is a procrastinator, so she’s actually still working on her Spring Reading List. Of 2008.

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One Response

  • Hahaha me writes:
    June 13th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    My friend read 13 Reasons Why and said, “It’s really good.” So I read the front flap and was like, “WHOA! AH!” and I’ve been terrified of it ever since.
    As for my summer reading I have a LONG list. I want to read some classics, because I’ve dodged around those books in my previous years of life, The Mockinjay (when it comes out), Tales of the Frog Princess, Graceling, and Ever (by Gail Carson Levine). Also, there is a long list of books I also re-read over the summer because they are summer-y, like The Penderwicks.

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