Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer Reading

Summer reading lists are always a pleasant way to pass the class-free months, and a normal person would make that list at the beginning of the summer. I, however, do not like to set myself up for failure, so for posterity's sake and possibly your reading pleasure I have compiled a list of the books I've actually read this summer that might prove helpful in the future if you prefer to work from a list rather than make your own. The links will take you to Amazon where you can read a description of the book and buy it if you just can't wait until next summer to read it. I'm not critiquing them in-depth, so don't expect a full-scale review, or even summary (that's why I linked them to Amazon). While I enjoyed some more than others, I think they're all worth reading.

The Pirates Daughter: A Novel by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
I didn't know who Errol Flynn was before this book, but that knowledge isn't necessary for full enjoyment. Read his Wikipedia page, then dig into this book. It's not about swashbuckling seamen, but it is set in Jamaica.

Ancient Highway: A Novel by Bret Lott
You get the same old Hollywood feeling from this book as Cezair-Thompson's. I've raved about Bret Lott before. I think he's wonderful, and I think you should read about these three generations so heavily impacted by the movies.

The Difference Between Women and Men: Stories by Brett Lott
I just couldn't get enough of this guy after I started reading. This is a collection of his short stories. I'm not so big on short stories because they make you think too hard when it seems like they should be so simple, but I really like the way he writes, and it's worth trying to figure out where he's going.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This book is nothing but beautiful. After I finished I wanted to read it again so I could have some more time to soak up the story.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
This one is not as plot-driven as East of Eden, but every character is fascinating. Even if you're unconcerned with his social criticism, you'll enjoy getting to meet Steinbeck's characters.

Jewel by Bret Lott
Obviously there was something about Bret Lott that kept me coming back for more. This is the one Oprah liked, but don't let that influence your decision either way! I wrote a little more about this one here.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
Murakami keeps the brain on its toes. I really like his work even if I finish the book with a ton of questions.

The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
These books are hilarious. I have finished the first 6 in the series so far, and I can't stop. Stephanie Plum is a female bounty hunter who hasn't quite got the job figured out yet, and the people she meets make her life (and the reader's) much more interesting.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Make sure you have an edition with the 21st chapter and read Burgess' introduction explaining its initial removal. The dialect he comes up with is difficult to read, but the book itself is very funny. It will make you think, too.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
This one disturbs me a little, but it's definitely worth a read. There's some very well-done humor as well.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I'm not into post-apocalyptic literature, so this one is not at the top of my list; however, I did enjoy this book overall, and it's a very quick read. Now I need to check out the movie.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
I don't know what I expected when my friend told me to read this book, but whatever it was I got something different. This one is a quick read, and I can't say I loved the end, but I do think it was worthwhile. This one is also a movie, and I just put it on my Netflix queue, so we'll see how that goes.

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