What to read next? Book recommendations from the OER Project Community

What to read next? Book recommendations from the OER Project Community

By the OER Project Team

Here at the OER Project, we love diving into a new book and same goes for a good book recommendation—who doesn’t?! So, it’s been quite a joy to read your responses to this month’s community snapshot post! Thank you, teachers and community members, for sharing your current reads and recommendations. From books that offer exciting stories and escapes, to those that have expanded your understanding of important subjects and given you new insights, we have quite a few additions for our to-read lists!

We’re featuring just a handful of the fantastic recommendations we received this month. Check out the original blog post for more!

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re big fans of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” so we’re especially excited to check out one of her wonderful novels, Purple Hibiscus—thanks for the recommendation, Rachel Riendeau!

Joe Baginski, you offered not one, but three fantastic recommendations. Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson looks to be an extremely important read that is going directly to the top of our lists.

Kimberly Milligan, thank you for sharing Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, which sounds like an inspiring and timely addition to the classroom—as well as our own bookshelves!

Erik Christensen described Ship of Theseus by V.M. Straka as a “book within a book.” If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, it is also referenced in the new sitcom WandaVision. Why not pick up Straka’s book and start it alongside a new show? Sounds like a pretty great pandemic-weekend plan to us!

 Finally, we’re surprising one of our community members, Gwen Cracknell, with some bookish treats. Gwen recommended Jack, by Marilynne Robinson, the fourth novel in her Gilead sequence. We’re excited to have a new series to get into.

Read on to get to know Gwen a little better as she shares her favorite genres and pre- and post-pandemic reading nooks.

OER Project: Share a little about the book you are currently reading. What first attracted you to the book?

Gwen Cracknell: I am currently reading, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. It was recommended to me by a close friend who knows I am an avid reader of all things history. [Editor’s note: between Gwen and Joe, this book really has our attention now!]

OER: What's your favorite genre to read? What is it about this genre that attracts you to these books?

GC: My favorite genre to read is historical fiction, although lately I have been reading more non-fiction related to social justice topics, like racism and immigration reform. I love to learn. I like to be informed about things in the past and present in order to understand multiple perspectives and make decisions based on facts.

OER: Do you have a designated reading place that allows you to escape while reading? Do you have a snack you like to munch on while reading?

GC: I generally read right before I go to bed in order to relax my mind a bit after managing bedtime with my two young children, Vivi and Charlie. Since I am bed, I usually don't eat, but before quarantine I did enjoy sitting at a bookstore with my coffee and reading.

OER: Finally, what advice do you have for people who say they want to read, but just don't have the time?

GC: The pandemic has brought to light many areas of my life the need to slow down, and reading is a way to do that. One of my "pandemic perks" is getting back to reading actual books, instead of on my phone or device. My mom loves to read and it was one of the most important gifts she shared with my brothers and I. To this day she is an active member of her church book club and is always sharing new titles with me. My son, who is seven, is learning to read on his own, which makes me so happy. I think it is important for him, and his sister to see my husband and I reading too. I have tried to read fewer books on my device and more physical books over the last year. I have a stack on my nightstand. Reading and spending time escaping into a story or time period are something I have done to find peace in the chaos.

Header image: Composite image from woman in bathing suit diving into book, ©Malte Mueller / Getty Images.

  • I've been reading the March Graphic Novel series by John Lewis in preparation for a Book Study Unit for my Civics class and I can see some world history connections in Book 3 that I plan to incorporate at the end of the year to helps my world history students prepare to transition to Civics in grade 10.