I’m a Princeton graduate, English major, and New Jersey public school teacher.

As a graduation gift, my parents gave me books. Lots of them. Now I’m on a mission to read them.

January through May of 2017 I challenged myself to read and review one book per week — and succeeded! Now that I have 96 students and all of the joys and responsibilities they bring, I am aiming for greater than or equal to one book per month. I have so enjoyed this journey and these conversations, so I hope they will continue, if at a more relaxed pace.

Below, if you’re interested, are the terms of my original reading/blogging challenge.

The Plan:

  • Each week, between now and the end of May, I will (do my best to) read one book
  • After completing each book, I will write an approximately 500 word review, posted here.
  • I will start with books that I have not already read. (e.g. The Great Gatsby will have to wait)

The Purpose:

  • I’m not sure I can tell you the last time I read simply for my own interest or pleasure. This project is primarily about reconnecting with the reader in me and continuing to discover the things I like to read and the things I find interesting to read.
  • Furthermore, the “greats” of literature are “great” for a lot of reasons. That doesn’t mean I or anybody else actually wants to read them. Finnegan’s Wake? No thank you. When books are published today, critics and bloggers alike whip up dozens of reviews and recommendations. What if Heart of Darkness or Dalloway is actually the perfect book to recommend to a friend, you’d never realize that because they’re stuck in the “classics” section of the bookstore? I’m hoping to find some classic texts that speak with relevance across time and are enjoyable, not just interesting, to read.
  • The best teachers are also still readers and writers. I hope that this will serve as a model for my future students: their ambition to learn and curiosity about the world need not stay within the four walls of my classroom.

Reading with Ms. Holmes:

Ms. Holmes is my dear friend and in the spring of 2017 she taught 8th grade English at a public school in New Jersey. Reading with Ms. Holmes is an occasional series in which I write about my experience reading along with her actual students (and keeping up with the homework too!).