Friday, May 17, 2013

2013 Summer Reading List and Recommendations

Scribblers and Book Bandits,

This might be my favorite post of the year: the summer reading list! First I will tell you what I'm reading this summer; then I will share my recommendations for your summer reads, based on my favorites for the year.

1.) My Fiction Study book: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
  • Even more so than The Hunger Games, the second book in the series Catching Fire is a study in plot, suspense and pacing. The sleek, brutal style of this book matches the Dystopian storyline perfectly. The book is popular with guys and girls. All of these elements = what I need to learn for my own writing.
2.) My Adult Fiction book: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

  • This book was a recommendation from a reader friend, and it has grown fairly popular. Not to mention, I found the book at the Friends of the Library book sale. One dolluh, oh yeah. I'm going to give it a try, even though I rarely read Adult Fiction
3.) "Need Some Fun" book: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.

  • I've been dying to read this book ever since it came out. First of all, it's Fantasy. Of course, the author also wrote the Printz Award winning Jellicoe Road (which I have not read). And, okay, the cover caught my eye!

4.) Award Winner: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley.

  • This book won both the Morris award and the Printz Award in 2012, which is virtually unheard of because the Morris award is for debut authors, but the Printz award has no such qualification. Honestly, I may or may not enjoy award-winners. Literary merit is important to me, but I hope for fun in my summer reading! Let's hope the story is excellent. I'll get back to you on it--it deserves a review.
5.) My Non-Fiction: After You Believe by N. T. Wright.

  • This was one of my textbooks on character for a leadership course, but it didn't feel like a textbook. It's a philosophical read that develops ideas about how a Christian should live "after they believe." It is based on the idea of virtue ethics--that one can develop virtue into a habitual lifestyle. I kept getting so caught up in the ideas (it's heavy wading, but so worth it), I hated to rush through the book just for a grade. I'm looking forward to digesting this book and applying it to my life.

Here are my summer reading book recommendations:

1.) The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner

  • I've been waiting for a book to knock me out of my Scorpio Races phase. It took quite a while, but James Dashner has done it. The Maze Runner series as a whole will stick with me for a long time. It's just a great story. Even though I have some complaints (which I will voice in a craft post in the near future), the characters became my friends and the message is not easily decoded or forgotten. Powerful series. My main complaint: the violent images. This series is The Hunger Games gory X2, just to give you an idea. Dashner does not pull punches (which is perhaps why teen boys in particular like the books so much). I did find out after reading this that Stephen King is one of Dashner's favorite writers. No doubt this influenced his ability to describe horrifying pain and death. That said, this series is definitely worth reading. It is my favorite fiction of the year. Bonus: filming has begun for the Maze Runner movie!  
2.) The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers.

  • This classic explains several insightful connections between Christian Theology and the mind of a writer. The "Maker" of the title refers to both the human and the heavenly artist. I read it for class, but I've read Sayers's work before and as usual it was a pleasure. This was my favorite nonfiction read of the year. Sayers had a razor sharp mind.
3.) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

  • This book is already fairly popular because of its 2000 Printz Honor, but this classic never goes out of style. It's a quick read or a great listen (you can listen to it using Overdrive audiobooks through the Lakeport Library).
4.) Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

  • This is, I have to say, one of my favorite adult fiction reads ever. I read several contemporary adult fiction books for school this semester and this was by far my favorite. Raw, powerful, and sweet at the same time. The author views it as a "911 recovery novel," but says it can be many things to many different readers. I agree. I was only 9 years old on Sept. 11, 2001, but this novel still meant a lot to me in different ways.
5.) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
  • Yes, again. I've read this book once, listened to it another time and will be studying it this summer. It's that good. I highly recommend it. Everybody probably already knows this, but Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games series, and the movie will be coming to theaters November 22, 2013, which is, to say the least, very very exciting. So if you haven't read these two books, this summer is a great time to catch up and prepare for the movie premiere.
I fell in love with very few books, this year. This might be because school kept me busy. If I could honestly recommend more new releases, I would. But now at least you know I don't recommend books on the blog unless I feel they are worth reading.

Enjoy your summer reading, friends! Here is last summer's reading list, if you want more recommendations.

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