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Saturday, January 2, 2016

#sixtybooks: book #1

Hi! I'm trying to read #sixtybooks in 2016. Follow that hashtag on Twitter for more info. I honestly don't know if I can do it--I struggle to read for fun during the school year--but I will try!

For book #1, I totally cheated. I started Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer last week, and I've read it many times before. I wanted to read it again because I hope to teach it to my AP Lang. students this spring in some sort of unit about returning to nature, abandoning materialism, something like that. I haven't flushed it out yet, but I'd like to do one whole book together.

Also, my class is HUGE, about 31 kids, so I might take out the sophomores (about half) and have them read Feed by M.T. Anderson instead and do an already-theorized technology unit. They need a refresher on fiction for the MCAS 10th grade long comp, PLUS no one should get out of reading Feed. It is mind-blowingly good.

Anyway, I've reread this book a lot because I admire it so much. It's a terrific work of non-fiction, blending a true-crime-ish story with personal anecdotes, historical context, and more. Chris McCandless left detailed journals and photos for Krakauer and the world to explore. I'm not hiker or nature lover, but I can understand McCandless's desire to abandon all society and try to live as freely as possible. I think the book provides lessons for parents--if your kid has a lifelong rebellious relationship with you, explore it before it's too late. Also a lesson for young adults whose brains aren't fully developed yet: before you make a drastic, risky decision, talk to someone.

Later this year, I'd like to read The Wild Truth, by Chris's sister. She explores the abusive relationship the kids had with their father, which definitely adds a new layer of intrigue to the story.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your book recommendations for this year at @abbeydick on Twitter or


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  2. I have read both of those books. What breaks my heart is that Chris wanted to come back, he understood our connections with others create the life we want. Like Holden, the problem with everyday life is that we create shallow, even phony, connections. Powerful reads.

    1. Thanks, Jamey. Perfect comments! Thanks for the insights.