I had the opportunity to read a wide selection of books this summer. Feel free to comment below. What did you think of them?
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
A powerful book about contemporary American end-of–life care. This book widened my comprehension of how Americans view death and spurred me to ask some questions about how I want to be cared for and how I can care for others. Not a pick-me-up read, but a good read.
Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott
This clever little work describes a society of two-dimensional beings and how they go about living (while simultaneously laying out a striking commentary on Victorian culture). While I found much of the book dry, there were several juicy bits of geometric complexity which made the spacial-manipulation part of my brain quite content. A good read for students who will be taking calculus and linear algebra.
Two books by Eion Colfer:
Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex
Artemis Fowl: The Last Hero
I took it upon myself to finish a couple of young adult fantasy books that I had previously started, but hadn’t finished. The Artemis Fowl series was the first of these. Eion Colfer’s strength lies in his humor. I loved the interplay between Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon, boy-genius Artemis, and the assembled cast of quirky characters including the flatulent dwarf Mulch Diggums and the tech-geek centaur Foally. Anyone looking for a fast-paced, technology-infused fantasy series with plenty of plot twisting cleverness would be well advised to read the Artemis Fowl series.
Brandon Mull Books:
I loved Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series, so I was surprised and excited when I learned that he was working on a companion series. Dragonwatch delivered a great story with many fresh characters and many returning characters including brother-sister duo Seth and Kendra Sorenson. While the book started off a bit slow for me, and took some time wandering around before getting to the main plot, the ending more than lived up to the Fablehaven legacy. By the last page, I couldn’t wait for the next book to come out. To the fence-sitting reader, I say read it! But make sure you read the Fablehaven series first.
Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion
Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy
The Beyonders series was the second series I finished this summer. I listened to the audio books. I have decided that I prefer to read Brandon Mull, rather than listen. I found myself constantly annoyed with his tendency to always choose thesaurus synonyms rather than the normal word.
I really enjoyed the ideas in the books, but you can tell that these were Brandon Mull’s first series. I didn’t love the predictable quest, but I did love the wonderfully explosive ending. To those considering reading these books, I would recommend you read them if you are already a Brandon Mull fan. If you aren’t, head over to the Fablehaven series or The Candy Shop War and start there.
Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders
Five Kingdoms: The Rogue Knight
Five Kingdoms: Crystal Keepers
Five Kingdoms: Death Weavers
I read the Five Kingdoms series at the urging of my brother and enjoyed them quite a bit. Rogue Knight was my favorite, with Death Weavers and Crystal Keepers tying for second. Brandon Mull has created a really fun world with fun Easter eggs from his other works. I am excited to read the final book in the series, coming soon.
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
This book had me laughing harder than I’ve laughed at a book in a long time. It was quirky and fresh with a wonderful comic book vibe. Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn-Dixie and Tale of Despereaux) has a knack for telling charming stories with powerful emotional underpinnings. This was the most artful book I read this summer.
The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis
In this book C. S. Lewis confronts hard questions about the place of suffering in a world created by a benevolent God. The masterful Christian apologist, Lewis lays out his ideas behind such topics as the fall of Adam and Eve, how pain and suffering differ, and the purpose of suffering. I enjoyed his straight-forward, honest reasoning, as well as the chance to view the world through his eyes and understand him better. One warning: this book is not for light reading—it is a book that must be digested and chewed as you go along.
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
In this lighthearted work, C. S. Lewis gives the reader a sneaky view into the personal letters of two devils, one junior and one senior, who are tasked with the temptation and corruption of man. Poignant, hilarious, and all-too-true, Lewis examines human weakness and human nature through a literal ‘devil’s advocate’ lens. I loved the variety and keen perception of the letters in this book. For those in the mood for a light—but discerning—read, I highly recommend this book. Best nonfiction of the summer.
Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
50 tools in 50 delicious little chapters. I found this book incredibly practical with whole slews of pertinent examples across many styles of writing. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to polish their writing skills and not spend too much time doing so. If there was a ‘quick fix’ for writing, this is the best book I have found.
So there you have it: 15 books. What did you read this summer?