Why Blog? I’m not sure, to be honest. I suppose because I’ve recently been inspired by a few blogs: In the LabyrinthWelcome to Randomness, and Nerdy Book Club. They seem less about Building A Platform, as most writers are encouraged to do, and more about participating in a large conversation about reading, writing, teaching, creating art, and making one’s way through life. I decided to jump into the conversation and see how it goes.

To that end – It is already August, and while many a teen probably thinks her teachers are rubbing their hands together and saying – “I can’t wait to get back to the classroom!” – most teachers I know are trying to pretend it’s still late June. The school doors just opened: we have weeks in front of us to lie in the grass and read exactly what we want to read.

I love my classes and students, but though September is fast approaching, I find myself putting aside The Tempest, which I’ll teach this fall, for Cherie Priest’s The Boneshaker, which I’m reading simply because I want to. What is so wonderful about reading stories that aren’t assigned? They are exactly to your taste. You can read them at your own pace. You can think of them what you will: you can ignore the themes or symbols that might help you write an essay worthy of a perfect score on the SAT, and instead you can ponder how a zombie might sound as it breaks under your boot or how a man, while caught in a scientific quest, might truly ruin the world.

With summer reading, there are no right answers, and there are no tests. You can even decide to abandon a story that doesn’t interest you. Or, once you finish the last page, you can turn to the first and begin again.