Head in the Clouds is a new feature on Vivalabooks. These are discussion posts filled with my thoughts about certain bookish topics I want to talk about.
For some school is about to start, and maybe others have already started school. When I wrote this post, I had less than 3 days left until school began for me. And, I had only just finished reading my last summer reading book about an hour before writing this post. Yes, I know, I was cutting it a little close. But, aren’t we all?
Every year I get a list of books I’m required to read. This year I had 2 required books — The Grapes of Wrath & A Lesson Before Dying — and 2 books I could pick from my school list — The Color Purple & The Chocolate War. And, every year I wait until there are about 2 weeks left until school begins to start my summer reading. I tell myself that I’m being strategically smart. If I read the books too early then I wouldn’t remember anything for school, right? Honestly, I’m just proving that I could make a major out of procrastination. *cough* cough* And, have you seen my TBR pile??? It’s never-ending! If I don’t have enough time to read the books I want to read, how am I supposed to make time to read books I don’t even want to pick up?
If I’m feeling extra determined, I’ll finish all the books in a couple days, but I almost always leave the required book till the very last minute. Last year, I read The Catcher In The Rye the night before school. This year the last book was The Grapes of Wrath. The problem is that it’s about 600 pages long filled with nothing fascinating to grab my attention onto. The struggle was definitely real as I tried to read The Grapes of Wrath. Generally, I’m a fast reader, but this book took a good chunk out of my life. The whole time I was reading, it felt like I was going at the pace of a turtle no matter how fast I wanted to move my eyes across the pages. At some points I got so bored that I fell asleep! No joke. (No offense to fans of The Grapes of Wrath.)
Although it seems like I hate summer reading, not all of it is agonizing and awful. Actually some of my favorite books, like The Outsiders & The Night Circus, have come from my summer reading list. Those are two books that I most likely wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, so I am thankful for the opportunity to read books I normally wouldn’t. But, how many hours did I spend procrastinating reading a summer reading book? A lot.
To be honest, most of the time when I read a book for school I don’t like it. For example, I hated The Catcher In The Rye when I read it for summer reading, but afterwards I gave it a second try and found it much more enjoyable. Also, I didn’t think much of To Kill a Mockingbird when I was reading it at the slow pace of my class. After I read it in one sitting at my own pace, it became one of my favorite books.
I go into too many school books with a negative mindset. And, this negativity can really ruin a good book. Or, I go into a book trying to overanalyze the crap out of it instead of appreciating the story & message the author is trying to tell. Or, I get really into a book only to stop because the teacher hasn’t assigned the next chapters yet. All of my momentum for the story quickly disappears along with my interest.
I am definitely not a fan of summer reading for school or any kind of reading for school if I’m being honest. But I do appreciate what schools are trying to promote. They’re trying to give us a chance to read books we normally wouldn’t have picked up. They’re trying to get us to experience something new and possibly learn something new. But, sometimes I wish we could read at our own pace and not have to worry if this piece of information will be on tomorrow’s reading quiz. I appreciate what schools are trying to promote, but I feel like things could change to allow kids to actually enjoy the great classics.