My Summer 2016 Reading List

Hello! Summer is officially here and you know what that means right? SUMMER READING! Okay, yes, summer also means deliciously hot days on the beach, barbecuing it up with family and friends, and eating lots of ice cream. But let’s be honest, summer also means that the days are longer, which in my book (ha!) means that there is a LOT more time to read! 

To compile my own summer reading list, I drew titles from my own long “to-read” list as well as book club lists at the local library***.  Enjoy!

  1. imgres-1.jpgThe House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

Surprisingly enough, my interest in this book was sparked by a Netflix veg sash back a few months ago.  After perusing through about a million movies, this particular title caught my eye, and when I saw that it starred my girl, Meryl Streep, circa 1993, I was in.  Set in South America, the film/book tells the story of a young rancher, Esteban, and his psychic wife, Clara.   While I remember finding the movie a little odd (sorry Meryl), I was intrigued enough by the plot to give the book version a try.  I mean, books are ALWAYS better then their film adaptations, so I’m really hoping to enjoy this one!

2. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquezimgres-3.jpg

I am so so looking forward to diving into this book.  It tells the story of the Rivera family, who move to the United States from Mexico to seek care for their teenaged daughter, Maribel, after she suffers a terrible accident. 

3. The Children Act by Ian McEwan

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I found this title on last year’s book club list at my local library, and the title drew me in.  This novel follows Fiona Maye, a successful High Court Judge who throws herself into a complex case after being left by her husband. 

4. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marraimgres-5

This novel is my book club’s selection for July, and I am so looking forward to reading it.  Set in Chechnya, a federal subject of Russia, eight-year-old Havaa bears witness to the kidnapping of her father and the burning of her home at the hands of Russian soldiers.  Havaa’s neighbor, Akhmed, discovers the girl and brings her to an abandoned hospital in the hope that they can seek shelter there.  However the one remaining doctor in the hospital, Sonja Rabina, is not pleased at the prospect of two additional people to care for.  I’m anticipating crying a lot while reading this, basically.

5. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amorusoimgres-6

While I love a good novel, I’m trying to be better about incorporating more nonfiction into my reading, keeping my brain fresh and whatnot.  Anyway, this kickass sounding book, written by the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, gives young women practical, honest, and meaningful advice about finding a passion and doing good work.  A sneak peek of said advice reads, “Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.” I’m in love already.

6. Looking For Alaska by John Green41r-sKjJ61L

Seeing as I am a brand new English teacher, I thought it would be fun to include a young adult novel on the list.  I loved and hated ( I cry REALLY easily) The Fault in Our Stars, and I’m looking forward to checking out another work by Green.  This one focus on Pudge, a young man who meets the mesmerizing Alaska Young when he enrolls at Culver Creek Boarding School.  Angsty teen romance? Stay tuned.

7. Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Letheimgres-8

This American novel spans three generations to tell the story of Rose Zimmer and her daughter, Miriam.  Both women are passionate activists who wield particular power over the men in their lives.  I am extremely intrigued by this novel, and am deeply curious to see how it reflects and remarks upon our culture.

8. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ngimgres-9

This book has been on my list for awhile now, and a recent conversation with a friend about it inspired me to add it here.  When the daughter of Chinese American family turns up dead in a nearby lake, chaos ensues.  My friend, while as of this writing has not finished this book, is enjoying it so far, and I trust her literary opinions greatly!  I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one either…I mean, who can pass up a good murder mystery?

imgres9. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons

This book was first recommended to me by my mentor teacher during my student teaching practicum.  While I never got around to reading the copy she kindly lent me, I am deeply interested in this book and want to tackle it this summer.  As both a woman and a teacher (not to mention possible future mother), I hope to gain some insight as to why girls exhibit infamous “mean girl” bullying behavior, as well as learn how we as a society can help break this pattern for our girls. 

10. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel Brownimgres-2

Another work of nonfiction, this book was first mentioned to me by T’s mother if memory serves me correctly.  This gorgeous sounding work tells the story of an American rowing team who defied staggering odds in the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin.  While I don’t know much else about this book, it comes highly recommended, and I can’t wait to dive in myself!

Have you read any of these titles? What did you think? What are you all reading? I’d love to hear 🙂 Until next time!

*** Please note, all book summaries were fact-checked on GoodReads, and written in my own words.  All book images were taken from Google Image searches.

Lately + Power Kale Bowl

Hello! I KNOW I’ve been away for awhile, and I am so sorry for my absence.  Life got a little crazy over the past month or two, and I decided to take a break from this space so I could focus on other (mostly awesome) things that were happening in my life.  Now that the dust has settled a bit and I can finally breathe,  I am so happy to dive back into ‘have heart’ with a renewed sense of energy.  Which brings me to a few announcements that I am SO HAPPY to share with you!

First up…I am OFFICIALLY a licensed teacher and survivor of graduate school.  I have to say, it feels damn good to see my teaching license number pop up on my education profile page, and I cannot wait to frame my diploma!

Secondly, I’ll be putting said license and diploma to good use in my very own classroom! I am so so relieved and excited to announce that I will be teaching 5th grade English Language Arts this fall.  I admit, I’m feeling a little nervous about this next step in my career, but I am already in love with my new school and cannot wait to meet all of my new students. Wish me luck!

And lastly…you might recall from this post that T and I are moving.  Well, long story short, that post was written a bit prematurely, and we ended up losing that particular apartment to another applicant (Boston real estate is a cut throat monster basically).  As disappointed as we were initially, our loss turned into luck, and we were able to find a gorgeous little condo that we absolutely fell in love with.  We’ve crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s, and this time our move is offish.  The twist?  Our new place is in Nashua, NH (read: NOT Boston).  While a part of me is a wee bit heart broken about leaving the city, I’m feeling overall really really good about the move, and I’m looking forward to exploring and settling into a new place with T. Oh, and we’re allowed to have dogs there, so stay tuned for my adoption of 1,000 puppies.

That pretty much sums up all of the big news around here.  It feels so good to be back, and I’m looking forward to getting back into my flow here at ‘have heart’ and reconnect with the blogging world.

Now that we’re all caught up, let’s get to the good stuff…lunch.  When summer arrives and the days grow hot, I tend to stick to cold salads for lunch.  They’re just so easy, and can be pretty refreshing on humid days.  However, they can also get a little boring, which never makes for a satisfying meal.  In the spirit of spicing up my favorite summer lunch meal, I fooled around in the kitchen a bit to come up with this little number: The Kale Power Bowl.  It does require a bit more prep work to make, so I suggest planning ahead the night before if you want to pack this bad boy for lunch.

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Power Kale Bowl

Ingredients:

  • Coconut oil, 1/2- 1 TBSP
  • Yellow onion, 1/2 c. diced
  • Mushrooms, 3-4 diced
  • Broccoli, roughly 7 spears
  • Lentils, 1/2 c. dry
  • Firm tofu, 1/5 block
  • Roma tomato, diced
  • Kale, 5 leaves roughly chopped
  • Parsley, 1 small handful chopped
  • Avocado, 1/4 diced
  • Balsamic vinegar, roughly 1 TBSP
  • Olive oil, roughly 1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

Method:

1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions. Set aside.

2. While the lentils are cooking,  warm the coconut oil in a pan on medium heat.  Add the diced onion, mushrooms, and broccoli, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

3. In the meantime, dice your chunk of tofu on a cutting board.  Then, with a fork, mash the cubes of tofu flat in order to “scramble” it.  Add the scrambled tofu to the pan, and add a dash more salt, pepper, as well as garlic powder.  Sauté on medium heat until tofu is warmed through and has started to brown.

4. While your lentils and scramble are cooking, prepare the salad bed.  In a large bowl, toss the kale and parsley until mixed.  Add the diced avocado, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to the greens.  Gently massage the “dressing” into the leaves, until the avocado has mashed and the vinegar and oil are spread evenly.

5. Top your salad bed with the scramble, lentils, and raw diced veggies of your choosing.  I opted for tomatoes and marinated olives, but the beauty of this dish is that you can get playful with your veggies!

This recipe is very relaxed.  When I was assembling this salad, I didn’t really measure anything, and sort of tossed ingredients together in the hope that they tasted good.  I can personally attest that this particular combination was filling and delicious, but I encourage you to experiment with your own combinations!  And, please do share them if you try this dish out 🙂

Until next time!