My Summer Isn’t Over Yet!

My Summer Isn't Over Yet

I know, I know, many teachers are in back-to-school mode now.  The sales have started in the stores, the classrooms are beginning to be unpacked, curriculum–both old and new–fills minds.  But it is only August 3rd, and I don’t want to write off summer too early here.  So instead of the back-to-school posts that I will write in the coming weeks, I want to think about sitting by the side of the pool and talk books.

Here are five of the most wonderful, profound, and significant books I have ever read:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • 1984 by George Orwell

These are all stunning pieces of literature that make comment on the human condition and have had profound and lasting impacts on the way I think and live.  I encourage all of you to read them.

I want to share a little secret with you though…These books are not what you usually find on my night stand.

In truth, these books are exhausting to read.  They are often densely packed with thoughts and ideas that challenge their readers intellectually, emotionally, and morally.  They must be taken slowly to truly be absorbed.  And while this is good and healthy and often enjoyable, it is not what I usually categorize as fun.

And I often read for fun.  (Which is also good and healthy and enjoyable.)

So today I am going to give you a list and brief recommendations of five books that I love to read for fun.  And just like I wholeheartedly recommend the books above, I also encourage you to remember that there is nothing wrong with reading for pure enjoyment.  Pick up one (or all) of these just because you want too!

Enchanted Inc. by Shanna Swendson

This is the story of a small-town Texas girl who moves to NYC–a place she discovers is full of more than the expected amount of weirdness.  After a couple chance encounters and an unconventional but very welcome job offer, Katie discovers that she has a genetic quirk that makes her highly desirable in the magical community which she has now been thrown headlong into.  This book (and the subsequent series) follows Katie on her adventures–spells, ogres, wizards, evil magic, and even Merlin (yes, that Merlin) make this unique story one of my favorite repeat reads.

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Vampires unlike any you have read about before.  A vampire king who knows duty but not love.  A young half-blooded woman who is unaware of her heritage.  A brotherhood of warriors fighting for their race’s survival.  This is not your grandmother’s romance novel nor her Dracula!  Quite “R” rated (the language alone puts it firmly in this category), this is the first in a series that will set your heart racing, make your breath catch, and satisfy all your bad boy fantasies (or it at least does for me!).

It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What happens when a wealthy, young socialite who is wholly uninterested in sports suddenly inherits a professional football team?  Chaos ensues, that’s what. This well-written and fun romance follows a most unconventional sports team owner and her new team, the Chicago Stars.  I particularly love this one because it is set in a town I used to live in, but even without that draw, Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes a darn good story.

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

For anyone who loves dragons and dreams of befriending and riding one, this story is a must.  This series was my first experience with adult science fiction and fantasy and will always hold a special place in my heart and in my imagination.  The first book is called Dragonflight, but this series is almost impossible to think of as many single books and not as a whole unit.  Though the first book was published back in the sixties, it is as wonderful to read today as I imagine it was fifty years ago.  Though Anne McCaffrey has now passed, her influence on the genre was profound and will still be felt for generations to come.  The Dragonriders of Pern is well-worth reading and rereading!

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

This is possibly my all-time favorite book.  It was the first novel I read multiple times, and I have both read and taught it many more times since I first picked it up as a young woman.  Set in a fictional world that has a passing resemblance to colonial India (though a good chunk of the book is spent with native clans), this is a coming-of-age story about Harry Crewe as she goes from gently bred lady to woman warrior.  Swords, horses, a bit of romance and a bit of magic all combine to make this a great read for people of all ages.  Fair warning–the first two chapters are a bit slow, but after that the book spins a wonderful tale.

These are just a few of the wonderful books that sit on my shelf and night stand.  (I didn’t even come close to listing all of my favorites–I completely missed authors like Julie Garwood, William Goldman, Patricia Briggs, Mercedes Lackey, E L James, Diana Gabaldon, Stephanie Meyer, Richard Castle, and Orson Scott Card just to name a few!)  I hope my descriptions peak your interest and you pick up one or more of them.  If you have recommendations that you would like to add to this list or would like to comment on any of my suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below!  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great day, and…

Teach On!


Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific -


This Week’s Featured Product

Teacher, I’m Done!  18 Activities for Early Finishers, Sub Folders, Fun Days, Etc.

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Looking for activities for those students who finish early? Need things to put in a sub folder? Want a couple of activities for a fun day? Here are eighteen activities that fit that bill. These are great for a wide range of abilities and interests!  For more details or to download this product, click here!


This Week’s Journal Questions

For the teacher:  Do you have a favorite book to read for enjoyment?  What is it?  Why do you like it so much?

For the student:  What is your favorite thing to do for fun?  Describe why you like it so much.


A Recipe from My Kitchen

Dilly Beans

Dilly Beans
My favorite kind of pickle, these dilly beans are wonderful on hamburgers, in tuna salad, or straight out of the jar!


  • 4 pounds green beans
  • 8 fresh hot peppers (or four hot peppers cut in half if they are big or super hot)
  • 4 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 4 teaspoons dill seed
  • 16-24 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 5 cups water


  1. Wash and cut green beans to length to fit pint jars.
  2. Bring canner to boil and scald eight pint jars
  3. Heat vinegar and water to a boil.
  4. Pack garlic cloves (2-3 per jar), peppers (1/2-1 per jar), and beans in pint jars .
    • Peppers that are cut open or have slits cut in them will make your beans hotter than ones that are put in whole.
  5. Add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1/2 teaspoon dill seed to each jar.
  6. Pour boiling water/vinegar mix over the top of beans leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  7. Seal and process in boiling-water cannier for 5 minutes.
  8. Wait at least 1 month before enjoying!

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