Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Sharing - Books

When I was in high school (like today), kids had required summer reading lists every year and then the first week back at school, we got to write an essay about our selections. Yay.

Hard to believe, I know, but I never dug summer reading lists. I read somewhere that the hardest reading to do is required reading. Why is that?

But in the spirit of summer reading and the notion that we have more time in the summer to read, I wondered what you guys would suggest as a great book I might've missed.

I'll get the ball rolling.

Since I feel bad about harshing on SL of PC, I suggest you ladies out there pick up a copy of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti. It has a great summer feel, with a road trip and a wedding. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

For those of you who like really long books that are also classics, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy The Three Muskateers. I'm not kidding!

That year I taught HS English, it was on the required summer reading list, and I'd never read it. I looked at the size of it and shuddered--you know how I feel about uber-long books--but it was really, really fun and entertaining. French names and all! (And it's good for guys, too, so bonus!)

If you're not really down with that and prefer something a little shorter/more modern, I really liked Sarah Dessen's That Summer. It's her debut novel, and I liked the mood of it. It's YA, but I think older audiences will like it. I don't know if it's "good for guys," but who knows.

You'll find it in bookstores with a picture of a girl doing a handstand on the cover. Not once in that book does a character do a handstand. It's very odd...

For more adultish books, I remember really loving Barbara Kingsolver's Bean Trees. I'm not sure what genre it is (literary fiction?), but it's an engaging read. I also liked Prodigal Summer by her, but JRM declared it "unreadable." Maybe so, but "unread." I found it appealing the summer I read it. It's all lush and green...

Of course, I'm planning to keep up the blogging, so you can always pop in for a quick read here. But for me summer is a time of heightened Mommy-guilt combined with a small dose of panic.

I feel bad when the girls start complaining that they're bored or when they want me to play with them, but I've got to do an interview/write a GTK/update bcbe.org/clean house... (OK, cleaning house is usually pretty easy to blow off for me. ;o)

So your assignment, should you choose to accept it: Tell me, What good book do you recommend? All ages/genres welcome!

And put it in the comments section for easy reference. You can even list more than one. I hope you'll also say whether it's scifi, romance, teen, classic, paranormal, inspirational--and if you're daring, why you like it. As a writer, that's very interesting to me.

Speaking of guy books (what?), has anyone read any Stieg Larsson? (Girl w/Dragon Tattoo, etc.) Every time I see those in the bookstores, I'm so curious...

Have a great weekend, and thanks for sharing!

P.S.
And if you're looking for a fun book to read to your kids, the original Pooh books by A.A. Milne are super. The girls and I've been reading a chapter at bedtime, and we just collapse into giggles. Maybe we should read them after breakfast...

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny, I have Prodigal Summer on my nightstand right now. I didn't think it was unreadable but I didn't love it. I'll have to get Bean Trees. from nythenla

Anonymous said...

I read Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. It's very Grisham so if you like his stuff, you'll like this. I can't stand the guy so was not pleased. My ire may come from the fact that, immediatly prior to picking it up, I had just finished my new favorite, Say You're One of Them. It is a collection of short stories about children in Africa. The first story is about a street family that lives off the earnings of the oldest daughter. It grabs you with that one and does not let go. I just finished the Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It was good summer reading. Much lighter than Say You're One of Them but not fluff.

LTM said...

@nythenla--I just put P.S. on my nightstand again. I'm curious now who's right. I read it back in... 1998? wow.
Bean Trees is great--I think her debut, and part of a series (Animal Dreams and Pigs... in the Sky maybe? Something about Pigs.)

LTM said...

@Anon2--I hang my head in shame. I've never read any Grisham... I know! I'm still so curious about GWDT. But you didn't like the guy. Hmmm.
I've heard of "Hotel@Bitter/Sweet" but never "Say You're one of Them." Sounds interesting, although I have to admit, since becoming a mom, bad stuff involving kids hits me a lot harder than it used to...

But these recs are for everyone's info! THANKS! :o)

LTM said...

From my FB page, the following recs:
-Two votes for "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (Sounds like the Sweet Potato Queens! :o)
-The Help
-Another vote for Hotel@Bitter/Sweet
-When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton
-Kudzu Debutantes
-Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes

These all sound great! Thanks, guys~

JRichard said...

For the record, I did not pronounce Prodigal Summer "unreadable;" I only pronounced it "unread." In the wake of Kingsolver's only true masterpiece, The Poisonwood Bible, I was unwilling to subject myself (again) to her lesser work after being subjected to Animal Dreams in college (meh) and reading the Entertainment Weekly review of PS, which as I recall was a C.

I think you were thinking of 100 Years of Solitude, which I DO pronounce unreadable, unless one is particularly drawn to nonsense. I mean, 100YOS is in a league with The Sound and the Fury, and there are still folks out there that pretend that THAT shizznit is readable. For that matter, apparently there is some current movement to revive that failed novel of failed novels Catcher in the Rye. I tell you, there's no accounting for what some people will read.

Two attendant notes: Bill Clinton has let me down exactly three times. Once, in 1997, when he engaged in economic detente with China; again, in August 1998, when he lied in the Paula Jones deposition; and, finally, in his autobiography, when he claimed that 100YOS was his favorite book. I tell you the truth, if he has read that book cover to cover, I'm a @!##^&&((!$@!. And I can't even fly.

Second, although The Poisonwood Bible is a masterpiece, I can never read it again because I have daughters now.

A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...

I have so many favorites, in all genres. I'd like to think I'm a well-rounded reader, BUT I have a hard time with extreme thrillers-graphic stuff--because I'm a lucid dreamer, INTENSE dreams and I can't have a repeat of the book in my dreams. Waking up sweaty and screaming, etc, etc is so uncool! Well I'm hoping you are on goodreads.com and we can find each other there because it would take forever to list favorites here. I wanted to read the dragon tattoo books but I got turned off by some of the harsh blunt language in them, but that is just my preference. I don't like to encounter too much of that while reading, I feel it sometimes disrupts the flow of things. Barb Kingsolver is interesting. If you like her I bet you will like Susan Orlean. I enjoyed reading two of her books so far: The Orchid Thief, and The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup--I like that one for her wit and descriptive and how she makes the "extraordinary into the typical"...these profiles are tons of fun to read--informal essay at its best. I love Esperanza Rising--I love how Pam Muñoz Ryan writes--it is enchanting and I find myself wanting to be where Esperanza is--on a hopeful adventure full of emotion and meaningful experiences. There are so many more!

LTM said...

@JRM: Oh. Oops! I agree, Poisonwood Bible is very good; and I couldn't finish 100YOS either. I missed it being B.C.'s fave book. Alls I know is it felt like 100 years reading it. :o)

@APD: Scary dreams--yikes! LOVE those titles--seems like I've heard of A Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup. And crazy B.K. lovefest! I just remembered liking Bean Trees, and now I'm realizing I liked pretty much all her books. She's got a new one out~
(That's two strikes against Gw/DT!)

Anonymous said...

Love your blogs Leigh! I have a lot of books if you want to borrow one or several! blog on...

Scarlett said...

Ok, I know this will sound so cliche, but I love reading romance novels! Not the erotica, bodice rippers, but the historical, mystery type. Maybe that is why I'm working so hard to write one! I just downloaded 10 Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn, to my Kindall. She is so witty and has a great sense of humor in her novels. It is a light read, and for me is such a good way to escape reality without weighing down my brain even more.

LTM said...

@Anon: You are too sweet! I love you~ (and I have no idea who you are! ;o)

@Scarlett: You & me--I'm finding the only thing more fun/escapist than reading them is writing them. It's almost like you're in control. I'll be on the lookout for your writings, and since I love witty, I'll def. check out Quinn~ Thanks! :o)

Odie said...

Okay, I'm sad, I know, but seriously, the Bridget Jones books were hysterical, I don't care if they were modernized takes on P&P!

Another good book, old and a "guy" book was Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I read it in High School and was pleasently surprised.

Grisham rocks, page turners!!! Also, for the more biblical based books, the Babylon Rising series is pretty good, it's like Indiana Jones meets Jesus.

...but, hey! that's just me!

LTM said...

You know, I've never read Tarzan. But I bet it is good... on mental list~

LOL! Indiana Jones meets Jesus. You must get that wit from your family... ;p

Pam said...

I'm a little late, but hubby has read all the "girl with the...." books and reports very good. I'll wait for the movie versions....lame, I know ;o)

LTM said...

@Pam: I love the titles. I'm a sucker for a great title--probably b/c I'm so lame at coming up with them... I usually name my books after where they're located. Richard titled DN.

URAUNTIE said...

I read The Grl Who Playd With Fire, took a while to get interested in, I think lost something in translation from original Swedish ... I love long books but have not had desire to read others in series ... a bit monotonous.

URAUNTIE said...

Suggest a revisit or if you haven't gotten around to it my favorite Pride and Prejudice always a pleasure.

LTM said...

I like the covers of those Girl books... I'm ashamed to say I've never read P&P. I'll add that to the list~ Thanks, Auntie!