Considerations for Summer Reading

Now that summer is officially underway, it’s time for one of my favorite things which is summer reading. Of course we have the official summer reading lists for everyone and they are available at the Haverhill High School website. This is also the time of year when I prepare the book orders which arrive like Christmas presents by opening day in September. Needless to say, I have books on my mind. Here, are five books I ordered and look forward to reading, along with a little description of why I ordered them for our collection:

  • Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix: I don’t usually go for the fairy tale retold thing (see Briar Rose, Wicked, et al.) but I have begun reconsidering my bias. This novel is one version of what happens to Cinderella after the ball is over and the rest of life begins with less than happily-ever-after realities.
  • Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel: I saw a beautiful photo essay in TIME magazine a while back by the same name and remember thinking that it would make a great book. Especially now, that we are all reexamining everything about our own eating habits, this book looks like it would make a great conversation starter in so many classes.
  • Blindness by Jose Saramago: On one level this novel is about what happens to humanity if everyone was suddenly left blind. On another level, it seems to be pointing towards our inevitable connectedness. Reviews of it are mostly favorable, and it promises to be a good read and hopefully a book that finds some fans in our school.
  • Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception by Charles Seife: As a skeptic, I tend to be swayed by arguments that present numbers as quantitative evidence for one side or the other. I have learned from years of experience and many Mark Twain quotes, however, that numbers can be made to lie. I’m always looking for good books about math, and I hope this one delivers.
  • Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Meth Addiction by David Sheff: A few years ago one of my guilty pleasures was watching A&E’s program Intervention. All the while, I couldn’t understand why so many of our students loved reading depressing stories of people hitting rock bottom or going through personal hell, such as Go Ask Alice, A Child Called It, Smashed … For me Beautiful Boy represents the much darker journey of the parent who has to watch their child endure or die.


  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: This graphic novel appealed to me because of its play on George Orwell’s Big Brother from 1984 (a personal favorite). The story line also deals with issues of personal privacy and governmental powers.

So there’s a handful (plus one) of books that I hope will find many fans in our school. I am still preparing a second book order, so I encourage all students and teachers to contact me at with recommendations and feedback. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you find something worth reading.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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