This summer I am working at a camp and if working at camp has taught me anything it is that I have no time to read. That is why my summer reading goal is only 10 books. Even then this is a pretty lofty goal because at the end of the week all I want to do is sleep and watch Netflix because neither of these activities require much brain power or moving.
Here is a list of my summer books and a description of each curtesy of Goodreads.
- Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
I already read this book but since I didn’t start reading it until after finals week I consider it part of my summer reading (I will be posting a review post later).
A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom.
The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.
They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.
2. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
I loved the movie but never had the chance to read the book until now.
It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women– of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.
3. See Me by Nicholas Sparks
I have to read this before his next book comes out in October.
See me just as I see you . . .
Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.
Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.
A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria’s lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria’s past begin to surface.
As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria’s life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they’ve begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?
Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, SEE ME reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize.
4. Master of Middle Earth by Paul H. Kocher
My only non-fiction book of the summer.
As is the case with all great works of art, J. R. R. Tolkien’s masterpieces generously repay close attention and study. In this thoroughly entertaining and perceptive volume, winner of the prestigious Mythopoeic Society Scholarship Award, Professor Kocher examines the sources that Tolkien drew upon in fashioning Middle-earth and its inhabitants—and provides valuable insights into the author’s aims and methods. Ranging from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings to The Silmarillion and beyond, Master of Middle-earth opens the door to a deeper and richer appreciation of Tolkien’s magnificent achievement. Inside you will discover
• Why Aragorn is the most misunderstood character in The Lord of the Rings . . . and its true hero.
• The origin of Sauron—and the nature of evil in Tolkien’s universe.
• The opposing forces of destiny and free will in Frodo’s quest.
• The Cosmology of Middle-earth—is it our world at an earlier time, or does it exist in a fantastic Elsewhere?
• How Tolkien’s ideas of morality, religion, and social order underlie every aspect of his life’s work.
Plus a fascinating look at such lesser-known works of Tolkien’s as “Leaf by Niggle,” “Smith of Wootton Major,” and many others!
5. The Winner’s Kiss
Some kisses come at a price.
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.
At least, that’s what he thinks.
In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.
But no one gets what they want just by wishing.
As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?
6. Hide and Seek by Wilkie Collins
The girl named Mary — they called her Madonna, and she was deaf and dumb and beautiful as a painting by Raphael — was a mystery. The Blyths adopted her from a kindly old woman connected to a traveling circus, but everyone knew she wasn’t from circus folk. All they DID know about her identity was that she’d lost her hearing in an accident, and the proprietor of the circus had treated her horribly, and, and . . . and in her cache of secret personal private things, she owned one thing as precious to her as life itself: a bracelet made of brown human hair with the initials MG tied into it. The Blyths kept it locked in a bureau for fear that Mary’s unknown family might one day claim her. . .
7. The Lost World by Michael Crichton
The Lost World: Jurassic Park Junior Novelisation captures all the thrills and chills of The Lost World story – with heart-stopping suspense, hair-raising action, and illustrated with colour photographs from the film. Something has survived…In 1993, an ambitious entrepreneur named John Hammond spoke four words which ushered in a new era of motion picture excitement and set worldwide boxoffice records…”Welcome to Jurassic Park”. Now, a few years later, Hammond makes a startling confession to scientist Ian Malcolm: another island of dinosaurs exists…an island where dinosaurs have been living and breeding in the wild…the Lost World.
8. The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman
I bought this book without a pretty dust jacket.
“Alice Hoffman is my favorite writer.”
Alice Hoffman is one of our most beloved writers. Here on Earthwas an Oprah Book Club selection. Practical Magic and Aquamarine were both bestselling books and Hollywood movies. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, and People magazine, and her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, and Self.
Now, in The Third Angel, Hoffman weaves a magical and stunningly original story that charts the lives of three women in love with the wrong men: Headstrong Madeleine Heller finds herself hopelessly attracted to her sister’s fiancé. Frieda Lewis, a doctor’s daughter and a runaway, becomes the muse of an ill-fated rock star. And beautiful Bryn Evans is set to marry an Englishman while secretly obsessed with her ex-husband. At the heart of the novel is Lucy Green, who blames herself for a tragic accident she witnessed at the age of twelve, and who spends four decades searching for the Third Angel–the angel on earth who will renew her faith.
Brilliantly evoking London’s King’s Road, Knightsbridge, and Kensington while moving effortlessly back in time, The Third Angel is a work of startling beauty about the unique, alchemical nature of love.
9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.
Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.
As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.
But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.
Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.
10. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. (“The”) Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.
She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.
As I finish these books I will be posting reviews of them. Let’s hope I get through all ten books!