Reading Picks

With my purchase of a Kindle at the end of 2010, I’ve found that I’ve been reading  more than I ever have before!  Even years later, I keep on adding to the list!

Here’s what I’ve been up to (for more suggestions check out my post The Year of the Bookworm)

Non Fiction:

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah: I read this story of a boy soldier in Sierre Leone years ago and returned to it last year as I used it as a powerful non-fiction text in my classroom.  This powerful story keeps me recommending it.  It is not an easy read, as you are provided graphic details of a war that is not often discussed where I’m from.  It offers the unfortunate reality of war-torn countries and through the eyes of a child, it is all the more horrific and provides all the more reason why these tragic events need to be discussed.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafza: This incredible true story set in Pakistan was a true inspiration for the fight for education.  Malala and her family embody the strength that we need for the future.  It is a detailed acccount of her childhood as Malala unknowingly became a celebrity for the right to girls’ education.

Foodist by Darya Pina Rose: Bought as a gift for my aspiring interest in food and health, this book was thoroughly enjoyable, educational, with just enough science to keep you wanting more.  I learned a lot and I really enjoyed her top 10 lists and her focus on health as a lifestyle not as a diet.

The Voluntourist by Ken Budd:  This book jumped out at me from an airport shelf.  I took it with me on vacation and became engulfed and inspired by Ken’s story of volunteer work from country to country.  Through this journey, he attempts to rediscover himself, experience new cultures, and learn how to give back to the world.

The Element by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica: A fantastic dive into finding your passion and living in your Element to find fulfillment with a touch on how we can help young people achieve this through a transformation in modern education systems.  Really makes you think!

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert: Her follow up to Eat, Pray, Love which explores Marriage through much interesting research from different cultures of historical periods.

Evil Plans by Hugh MacLoed: A quirky and great look into hatching personal plans for your own life and really investing in and believing in your own creative powers.

You: The Owners Manual by Michael F. Roizen and Memet C. Oz: An awesome collection of information about your body, health, diet, exercise.  Everything you want to know in easy to understand terms!

Fiction:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: I struggled as I read this book because of the topic of rape and murder, but its intrigue kept me glued to the pages.  In the unique story, Susie Salmon narrates from her view in her personal heaven.  We watch along with her as her family tries to put the pieces of their lives back without her.  There’s a strong sense of family and human connection that persists throughout the book and I highly recommend the read.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie:  I read this book with the thought of possibly using it my high school English classes.  It was a well written and illustrated look into the life of a Native American teen struggling with his identity on and off of his reservation.  It really begged questions in me about community, individuality, stereotypes, oppression, and also brought moments of hope and a desire to learn more about under privileged groups.  The comics throughout the story lend humour to otherwise serious issues and we can see how the narrator deals with his emotions via this artistic outlet.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: This wonderful read was so enjoyable over my summer vacation.  It’s unique narration through the eyes of a dog allowed me to really see into the characters in a new way.  Dennis’ pet helps him through significant life events and gives the readers a chance to reflect on his wise thoughts as he connects the action to Dennis’ job as a race car driver.  A great read!

The Giver by Lois Lowry: This was a short book that I had meant to read for a while.  It captured me from the beginning as the characters live society where rules are rigid and there is no room for choice.  Jonas, the main character, begins his journey as being the next Receiver of Memories.  While the story and setting won me over instantly, I was shocked at fast and abrupt ending.  I wanted more!

Divergent by Veronica Roth:  This book was the first in a while that I could not put down.  The whole series (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant) was a quick and easy read, but one that I invited my whole self into.  Telling the story of a future society in which everyone’s future is divided into choices between different groups brought an interesting concept: Citizens have the choice to be in specific groups, which carry out specific and important positions within their world.  Following Beatrice Prior in her new life and seeing what power can do to individuals and groups makes for a nail-biting read.

And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini: After reading The  Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I had to pick up his third book that continues to deal with family through generations.  I quickly developed emotional attachments to his characters as they explored relationships and different words.

“Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami: A dystopian novel surrounding the lives of 42 Japanese middle school students brought to a secluded island.  The game is: kill each other until there is one left standing.  A tragic and twisted story of loyalty, fear, and bravery.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood: I opened this Canadian story after a recommendation from a trusted source.  It brought me into a dystopia that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around, but the writing was like poetry and I loved turning the page as I got closer to the characters. The time shifted back and forth in time as the narrator was coming to terms with the unbelievable world he was left in with creatures created by his once only friend turned science mstermind.  I look forward to diving into Atwood’s other class Handmaid’s Tale.

The Associate by John Grisham:  This crime drama kept me on my toes even for relaxing bedtime reading.  Grisham has the ability to write in a way to keep the reader interested and connected to the characters as they become intertwined in a series of unlawful scams.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: A much enjoyed read recommended by a dear friend.  This dystopia allows you to peer into the mind of young adults facing their fate in a terrible “game” the governing body has been placing in its citizens for years.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: This is a classic that I never read as a student.  I followed the personal story of a teenage student in the 1950s who is reflecting on his own experiences before getting kicked out of his private school.

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz: This must read is a beautifully written story of family secrets and relationships.  Set in a post-war small American village, it brings you into the hearts and minds of the main characters and allows your to share their journeys as they grow up, love, and learn.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: An wonderfully written story of a Jewish girl in France during the Holocaust and her connection to an American journalist years later.  The story flips between the 1940s and the present as it sheds light on family secrets held tight.  A great story, but I wished the author would have focused more on the French girl’s story rather than the journalist’s.

The Girl Who Plays with Fire by Steigg Larsson; An interesting follow up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Very entertaining story that digs a little bit into  controversial sex trafficking in Europe, but I found the writing a little off, perhaps due to the translation.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath; This was a short novel I have wanted to read for a while, which is thought to mirror Plath´s real life.  It follows a young girl dealing with depression and hardships as she begins living in the big city but feels no excitement for it.  Because of her behaviour, she is placed in a mental hospital where she meets others and lives a very different life than the one she once knew.

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown: A fun mysterious crime-solving puzzle about computer hacking and surprising government programs.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: The classic story of a boy surviving on his own with a tiger in the middle of the ocean.  Deals with a lot of interesting subjects and a great twist of faith.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: A great love story between a couple that must deal with the mystic and stress of the main character’s time shifting.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelo: Another classic tale that follows a boy on his journey to find his destiny and learns much along the way.

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx: Everyone knows this story from the popular film, but reading the short story version allowed you to dig even further into the minds of these two men and the hardships they had to endure to maintain their relationship.

 

 

Reading Picks

With my purchase of a Kindle at the end of 2010, I’ve found that I’ve been reading  more than I ever have before!  Even years later, I keep on adding to the list!

Here’s what I’ve been up to (for more suggestions check out my post The Year of the Bookworm)

Non Fiction:

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah: I read this story of a boy soldier in Sierre Leone years ago and returned to it last year as I used it as a powerful non-fiction text in my classroom.  This powerful story keeps me recommending it.  It is not an easy read, as you are provided graphic details of a war that is not often discussed where I’m from.  It offers the unfortunate reality of war-torn countries and through the eyes of a child, it is all the more horrific and provides all the more reason why these tragic events need to be discussed.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafza: This incredible true story set in Pakistan was a true inspiration for the fight for education.  Malala and her family embody the strength that we need for the future.  It is a detailed acccount of her childhood as Malala unknowingly became a celebrity for the right to girls’ education.

Foodist by Darya Pina Rose: Bought as a gift for my aspiring interest in food and health, this book was thoroughly enjoyable, educational, with just enough science to keep you wanting more.  I learned a lot and I really enjoyed her top 10 lists and her focus on health as a lifestyle not as a diet.

The Voluntourist by Ken Budd:  This book jumped out at me from an airport shelf.  I took it with me on vacation and became engulfed and inspired by Ken’s story of volunteer work from country to country.  Through this journey, he attempts to rediscover himself, experience new cultures, and learn how to give back to the world.

The Element by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica: A fantastic dive into finding your passion and living in your Element to find fulfillment with a touch on how we can help young people achieve this through a transformation in modern education systems.  Really makes you think!

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert: Her follow up to Eat, Pray, Love which explores Marriage through much interesting research from different cultures of historical periods.

Evil Plans by Hugh MacLoed: A quirky and great look into hatching personal plans for your own life and really investing in and believing in your own creative powers.

You: The Owners Manual by Michael F. Roizen and Memet C. Oz: An awesome collection of information about your body, health, diet, exercise.  Everything you want to know in easy to understand terms!

Fiction:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: I struggled as I read this book because of the topic of rape and murder, but its intrigue kept me glued to the pages.  In the unique story, Susie Salmon narrates from her view in her personal heaven.  We watch along with her as her family tries to put the pieces of their lives back without her.  There’s a strong sense of family and human connection that persists throughout the book and I highly recommend the read.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie:  I read this book with the thought of possibly using it my high school English classes.  It was a well written and illustrated look into the life of a Native American teen struggling with his identity on and off of his reservation.  It really begged questions in me about community, individuality, stereotypes, oppression, and also brought moments of hope and a desire to learn more about under privileged groups.  The comics throughout the story lend humour to otherwise serious issues and we can see how the narrator deals with his emotions via this artistic outlet.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: This wonderful read was so enjoyable over my summer vacation.  It’s unique narration through the eyes of a dog allowed me to really see into the characters in a new way.  Dennis’ pet helps him through significant life events and gives the readers a chance to reflect on his wise thoughts as he connects the action to Dennis’ job as a race car driver.  A great read!

The Giver by Lois Lowry: This was a short book that I had meant to read for a while.  It captured me from the beginning as the characters live society where rules are rigid and there is no room for choice.  Jonas, the main character, begins his journey as being the next Receiver of Memories.  While the story and setting won me over instantly, I was shocked at fast and abrupt ending.  I wanted more!

Divergent by Veronica Roth:  This book was the first in a while that I could not put down.  The whole series (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant) was a quick and easy read, but one that I invited my whole self into.  Telling the story of a future society in which everyone’s future is divided into choices between different groups brought an interesting concept: Citizens have the choice to be in specific groups, which carry out specific and important positions within their world.  Following Beatrice Prior in her new life and seeing what power can do to individuals and groups makes for a nail-biting read.

And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini: After reading The  Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I had to pick up his third book that continues to deal with family through generations.  I quickly developed emotional attachments to his characters as they explored relationships and different words.

“Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami: A dystopian novel surrounding the lives of 42 Japanese middle school students brought to a secluded island.  The game is: kill each other until there is one left standing.  A tragic and twisted story of loyalty, fear, and bravery.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood: I opened this Canadian story after a recommendation from a trusted source.  It brought me into a dystopia that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around, but the writing was like poetry and I loved turning the page as I got closer to the characters. The time shifted back and forth in time as the narrator was coming to terms with the unbelievable world he was left in with creatures created by his once only friend turned science mstermind.  I look forward to diving into Atwood’s other class Handmaid’s Tale.

The Associate by John Grisham:  This crime drama kept me on my toes even for relaxing bedtime reading.  Grisham has the ability to write in a way to keep the reader interested and connected to the characters as they become intertwined in a series of unlawful scams.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: A much enjoyed read recommended by a dear friend.  This dystopia allows you to peer into the mind of young adults facing their fate in a terrible “game” the governing body has been placing in its citizens for years.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: This is a classic that I never read as a student.  I followed the personal story of a teenage student in the 1950s who is reflecting on his own experiences before getting kicked out of his private school.

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz: This must read is a beautifully written story of family secrets and relationships.  Set in a post-war small American village, it brings you into the hearts and minds of the main characters and allows your to share their journeys as they grow up, love, and learn.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: An wonderfully written story of a Jewish girl in France during the Holocaust and her connection to an American journalist years later.  The story flips between the 1940s and the present as it sheds light on family secrets held tight.  A great story, but I wished the author would have focused more on the French girl’s story rather than the journalist’s.

The Girl Who Plays with Fire by Steigg Larsson; An interesting follow up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Very entertaining story that digs a little bit into  controversial sex trafficking in Europe, but I found the writing a little off, perhaps due to the translation.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath; This was a short novel I have wanted to read for a while, which is thought to mirror Plath´s real life.  It follows a young girl dealing with depression and hardships as she begins living in the big city but feels no excitement for it.  Because of her behaviour, she is placed in a mental hospital where she meets others and lives a very different life than the one she once knew.

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown: A fun mysterious crime-solving puzzle about computer hacking and surprising government programs.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: The classic story of a boy surviving on his own with a tiger in the middle of the ocean.  Deals with a lot of interesting subjects and a great twist of faith.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: A great love story between a couple that must deal with the mystic and stress of the main character’s time shifting.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelo: Another classic tale that follows a boy on his journey to find his destiny and learns much along the way.

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx: Everyone knows this story from the popular film, but reading the short story version allowed you to dig even further into the minds of these two men and the hardships they had to endure to maintain their relationship.

 

 

Awards

Kristin’s Backpack won 1st Prize for TESL Ontario’s 2011 ESL Week Blog Contest.
About Me


Welcome to Kristin’s Backpack! I jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2010 to share my Canadian-theatrical-backpacking perspective on my world adventures. With my return to Canada, I will continue to dig into my pockets and reflect on life as it has come to involve Teaching, Travel, and Theatre. Time to unzip the pockets!
Portfolios
Check out my past and current work here: 

Kristin's Library
Looking for some interesting reading material? Check out my Reading Picks and Bookworm post for some ideas! 

               
This is what summer is all about- finished a book yesterday and am on to the next today.  I just opened The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which has been on my shelf for ages.  I have been extremely interested in reading accounts that stem from true stories in a dark history that is often swept to the side.  
At the same time, I have been listening to The Maze Runner series as an audio book and have been extremely captivated by the young characters’ circumstances and their view on the world.  
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