Every Summer since I have been an adult (i.e. when I didn’t have anymore summers) I have laid out a pretty list (paper, Word Doc, Google Doc, otherwise) of books I wanted to read during the summer. I would scour the NPR Books section for summer book ideas and basically any other source I could think of. I love compiling lists. I don’t always love following those lists. The summer book list was one of those always left to the unfollowed.
Again this summer I aimed to read a good number of books. I did make one change from other years: no list. I had a rough list of books in my head but no books I had to read before the summer was out. I did have a goal: complete my Goodreads yearly challenge before the Fall. Goodreads has the option for you to indicate how many books you want to read in a year and you try to live up to that goal. I decided on what i think is an attainable number based on my slackerdom: 20.
This summer I feel I have made good progress in almost achieving this goal. Since reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I have read 10 books. TEN!! SUCK IT!!
I will quickly summarize my thoughts on these books then you will have some information and I have a sufficient length blog post:
Booted Out of the Eternal Queue
Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A Book By and for the Fanatics Among Us by Steve Almond
As much as I love writing about pop culture, I can only read so much about Pop Culture before I get burnt out. I learned from reading this book that I need to read a couple of chapters, put the book down for a bit and pick it up again later. Luckily continuity is rarely a factor in these books. About the book in question: I really enjoyed it. It has a perspective of a guy who looooves music and seriously feels the ebbs and flows of songs/albums. Yeah he is an accomplished music writer but he does well relating common themes and feelings of me. Plus he fills it with interesting stories and lists. I highly recommend if you are one of those music lovers that feel the music you love.
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
A sequel to The Passage which is an apocalyptic vampire novel with heart. The Passage focused on people about 100 years after the initial outbreak and this continues their story and gives more flesh, blood, neurons to the whole. I highly recommend this series if you want something different than the typical dystopian/apocalyptic novels that have been popular as of late. Also recommended if you want vampires that are evil and not sparkly messes of emo wealth.
Lexicon by Max Barry
If there is one book on this list that you have to read, it is this one. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I really don’t want to describe it at all or give keywords because I knew nothing when I hopped into it and loved it so much more for that. The whole world that unfolded for me in the manner of a quick paced story filled my imagination and I was hooked. I think I read it in a day or two. It is one of those books I have to tell myself to put down or I will stay up all night reading it.
Tinkers by Paul Harding
I have owned this book for a while, wanting to read it after it won the Pulitzer Prize. When I started the book I found it almost excruciatingly boring. It is about a New England man on his death bed, thinking about his and his father’s life. And they Tink things and describe it in detail. Tinking a clock, tinking a hair cut, tinking a gift for a wife. There is a bunch of tinkers. A long line of tinkers who also tink about life. Then about a bit into chapter 2 (70 pagesish), I was hooked. The writing is supremely beautiful and simple at the same time. Harding has these phrases that just latch into your soul and stay with you. Sometimes you aren’t a tinker and you call someone to fix the damn thing. Or sometimes you need to tink with something a bit before it is awesome and functional.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I don’t know why I never wanted to admit that Neil Gaiman was my favorite author. I am not a big fan of autographs but I stood in line after an Amanda Palmer show with my tattered copy of American Gods patiently waiting for the kind British gentlemen to inscribe my name and his into my book. My book. The one I read and loved and loaned (not any more) out to people. I started this book in a book store and immediately bought it. I knew its intended target was the child around the ages of 7-11ish so I was afraid that I couldn’t get past the childishness. I shouldn’t underestimate Gaiman. This book is simple and beautiful and weaves this believable fantasy narrative. It is scary and hopeful and full of love. Gaiman doesn’t cuddle the child he speaks plainly and factually. Which I love. It is a ghost story of another nature and a great companion piece to the Ocean at the End of the Lane.
The New Love
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordian
Probably like most of you, I have heard of this series for a bit. Knew about the first movie and heard about the upcoming movie and finally became interested. It was cheap so I decided to read it. Hey, that is how I found Harry Potter from a used bookstore. Oh I bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and Atlas Shrugged during that trip. Both books that have shaped my further reading. Back to Percy J. He is a kid and the book is written like how a kid would talk and act. It isn’t badly written but aimed for the audience intended. However if you can understand or get past that fact, you are left with this great adventure story of Greek mythology in the modern world. Since it is the first in a series, it is heavily focused on the setup and explanation but the story itself is great. It made me want to read the rest. So YAYAY.
The Graphic Novels
The Sandman Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes Neil Gaiman
After Percy Jackson I wanted a book that seemed thematically similar so I turned to this. I love the telling a story of the man who controls our dreams through beautiful words and illustrations. Yes everything is beautiful. I think everyone should read this series. I know I am only on Volume 1 but I know I will love the rest as should the rest of you. Even if you don’t like “comic books” or “graphic novels”, it is such a great and well written story. It carries some of that mythological and feeling and adds in modern day problems as well.
The Invisibles Vol 1: Say You Want a Revolution Grant Morrison
I was on a Graphic Novel kick at this point and this volume of the Invisibles was given to me by Andreaboo. If you love V for Vendetta, you will love this. That anarchy feel is strong in this one. And there is weirdness too. Pop culture, literary, historical, mythological references abound. It is Morrison’s Sandman which means they both pull from a myriad of sources to tell their own weird and fantastical tales. The artwork is also superb.
City of Bones and City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #1 and 2) by Cassandra Clare
Teen people caught up supernatural hullaballoo and I am in. Sometimes I don’t catch these things until there are movies being made about these pesky teens but I catch up eventually. I decided to read the book before I saw the movie (yes I will see this movie) and the book is honestly, horrible. It is badly written and the story is interesting but not interesting enough to keep most going. But I have a weakness (sigh Twilight) for meaningless Teen supernatural drivel. So I read book 2. Which was slightly better, slightly worse and still frustrating as fuck. So what I am saying is unless you are a 15 year old teen or weak like me, don’t read this series.