Summer Reading List 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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Reading by Bulinna
So, here you are, smack dab in the middle of summer, and it's hot - insufferably hot.  And you're bored and wiped out and feeling like all you'd rather do right now is sprawl out on the sofa, the currents of your air conditioner swirling around you, or sit under your favorite shade tree, with a good book.  If that is your plight and if that is your deepest desire (because, really, how deep can you get with a heat index of 112?), then you've come to the right place.  It just so happens that I've got a few suggestions for you, right here in my back pocket.  What I have here is a list of books that are sure to keep you entranced, as you while away these hot summer days.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling: I know, it's odd to suggest the 5th book in a series, when I haven't even "suggested" the others yet.  And I must stress that this suggestion is only for those who have read the series already (or at least the first four).  However, for those of you who have seen Harry through his first four years at Hogwarts, I invite you to join me (and a few of my friends) as we begin Harry's fifth year.  If you've been following my posts thus far, you know that a few of us have started re-reading the series, one book a month, in honor of the upcoming first installment of the last Harry Potter movie. The goal is to have finished reading the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by the end of October.  I myself plan to begin reading Order of the Phoenix on July 31st (which also happens to be Harry's birthday).  It is a thrilling tale, as Albus Dumbledore would undoubtedly have said, and it would be so much fun if you came along with us.  

This volume is particularly fitting for August as it begins with a London heat wave.  I won't lie - this is my favorite of the HP7, though from this point on, everything starts to rush together, all of the stakes are higher, and there's just no point in trying to stop after 5.  You'll pick up 6.  You'll have to.  It will feel as though you've been placed under the Imperius Curse and are helpless to disobey.  And when you finish with The Half-Blood Prince, you will rush to grab the Deathly Hallows from your shelf (or go buy it, if you're one of the unfortunate few who haven't yet read the conclusion to the Harry Potter series) and will feverishly open that first page and dive in again.  The only challenge here is, can you pace yourself?  Can you save it for October, so that by the movie's release date, the book is still fresh in your mind?  Can you resist?

William Goldings Lord of the Flies  Lord of the Flies by William Golding:  This is one that I consider an essential summer read.  Many consider this a classic, but I fear that some people believe that classic = boring.  Not this book, my friends.  I would never do that to you.  This novel tells the story of a flock of private school boys who find themselves stranded on a deserted island, all alone, without a grownup in sight.  Like Neverland gone wrong, this tale is gritty and sometimes chilling as you see the darker side of humanity rear it's piggish head.  

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 25th Anniversary Edition  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams:  Alright, let's lighten up a bit, shall we?  If you haven't read it, I'm sure you've at least heard of it, and believe me, all the hype is WELL deserved.  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s and guaranteed to have you guffawing right out loud (something you might keep in mind if you plan on reading in public).  This is the first in the series, and you'll want to read them all, so buckle your seatbelts for a wild intergalactic ride.  Whatever you do, DON'T PANIC, and don't forget your towel.

Pardon Me, You're Stepping on My Eyeball! by Paul Zindel:  Ok, so Amazon didn't have a single image for this one.  I'm very disappointed.  But... nothing doing, we move on.  Some books are just personal.  This one was for me.  I read this book in my early teens and it has stayed with me ever since.  This is a book written for the YA market.  This is not a public service announcement or a sexy vampire thriller.  This story is more uncomfortable and more "real" than any of those things.  I could write an entire blog entry reviewing this book, but I'll try to make this brief.  This story follows two characters, a boy and a girl, misfits in their own worlds.  It is not a romance, per se, but a story of connection and alienation.  I don't know quite what to compare it with for you... maybe Harold and Maude?  But, the vibe, not the storyline.  Perhaps a touch of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?  But here, the story and (again) the vibe, not the heady philosophy.  I suppose I'll just have to ask you to trust me on this one.  If you've ever felt that, no matter who is with you, you're still on this journey alone, then this strange and beautiful book is for you.  

ItIt by Stephen King:  And now we come to our obligatory Stephen King.  Dispensing with the lengthy book titles I seem to have gravitated toward for this Summer Reading List, here is Sai King's shortest title, and one that may well be in the running for Shortest Book Title In History.  However It is NOT the shortest book at 1,104 pages, and so has lots to show you on these long summer days.  Many moons ago I mentioned that It is my favorite King novel.  Of course, this was also my first King novel, and it's hard to hold a candle to your first love.  But, I digress.  

It is the tale of the children of Derry, Maine, children who bond together as they fight for their lives against the most unspeakable terror... and then they grow up, and the nightmare begins again.  Page-turning suspense, intense friendship, strength of human character and more than a little connection to Sai King's "other worlds", this book is worth every last page. 


A girl. said...

I've decided to check out the Pardon Me, You're Stepping On My Eyeball one.
Hopefully my library will have it.
And I have heard very great things about Lord of the Flies.

firespark said...

Oh, Paul Zindel. *sigh* I did mention that this book is strange, yes? It is. And it's a bit dated (was a bit dated when I read it, if that tells you anything), but it's almost better that way... You'll have to tell me your impressions when you've finished reading it, if you manage to get your hands on a copy. :)

And, Lord of the Flies is intense. Your library should *definitely* have that one... it's a necessity... get to it whenever you get to it, but get to it.

GingerGirl said...

Um, I accidentally finished OotP, but I will dutifully wait for you to start really...I mean it!

firespark said...

See? What did I say? Imperiused... you know you'll be done w/ Half-Blood Prince by mid-August! ;) But don't forget to save Deathly Hallows to start with CK - that one's still new to her!

Sarah Franz-Wichlacz said...

oh wondrous! ...and m'dear, do you realize that it *still* have your original copy of "pardon me, you're stepping on my eyeball"...? i can't believe i didn't try to give it back to you the last time you came up.... hmmmm....

firespark said... NO, I didn't know you had that! I didn't know ANYONE still had that! I thought it was lost to the mists of time, and all that rot! You're amazing... thank you for holding onto it all this time... I don't know whether to laugh or cry or dance or all three... wow... pieces of me that I thought were gone, just memories... and it's been with you, all along... I should have known. :)