An open letter to an old acquaintance


Dearest Summer Reading,
Oh, you. You are something we all should participate in, like flossing or recycling. You are good for us, like running or vegetables, but the thing is, none of us particularly like you.
For starters, you encourage students to read. The types of students who appease you by actually reading, though, are usually goody-two-shoes intellectuals, and excluding them, not many others participate. If you wanted to gain a larger following, perhaps there could be some reward for reading you, other than the “pure joys” of the activity, the acquirement of knowledge and the ability to escape the struggles of daily life through words, of course. I don’t know– I personally would like food or something on top of all those benefits. After all, knowledge gained from reading is roughly equivalent to a $1 Krispy Kreme doughnut.
Summer reading, you inspired me to be a better person by guilt-tripping me to get out of bed. The number of times I saw you sitting on my bedside table and weighed the options of reading you or going out and being productive is incredibly high—ridiculously so. But thank you for getting me out of the house, summer reading. Because of you, I went to Panera so many times that they learned my order. I am not ashamed of this fact.
As a senior here, I’ve been through four rounds of summer reading, and I can’t pinpoint a year where the conversation about the book went deeper than its premise. As a student who has taken AP Lang and is taking AP Lit, I can also confirm that those summer reading projects for English classes are irrelevant, in relation to the rest of the year. I worked my butt off on my Outliers outline for Lang and spent hours on my paragraphs for The Handmaid’s Tale only to be rewarded with low B’s. And for what?! To never talk about the book? To never do a project on it? To never write an essay on it? To this day, I remain full of repressed knowledge and insightful comments. Someone hit me up if you want to talk about The Handmaid’s Tale, please.
–Love, your good friend Julia


Julia Gastwirth

Managing Editor