Summer Reading Roundup

What is this typical English major’s favorite thing about summer?  All the free time able to be spent on entering creative worlds not my own, of course!  I let the breeze turn novel pages outside on my rope hammock, tuned out some crazy campers on bus rides, and bleached books with salt water and sand while reading in the Cape Cod sun.  And I predictably enjoyed every minute of it!

I read a total of 21 books from May-August, adding up to a whopping total of 8,220 pages, according to Goodreads (a bookish version of Facebook).  Here, I’ll highlight what I’ve read, and what I’ve enjoyed most :)  For the full list of my Read Books on Goodreads, click here!

My summer top 5 great reads:

  1. _The Book Thief_, by Australian author Markus Zusak.  I don’t award the highest 5/5 star rating on Goodreads without good reason, but this book definitely did the trick.  It’s bit different from a typical novel, seeing as it is narrated by a character of Death.  While grim that may sound, this story had some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read.  Readers are captured into the life of a young girl in Nazi Germany, Liesel Meminger, known as the book thief for her love of reading.  Liesel’s story is a lovable, yet heart-wrenching tale as readers watch her struggle through life lessons, death of loved ones, war, trying to keep her innocence, family, and friendships.  Each page of experimental fiction is filled with the poignant images and powerful characters of a story not easily topped or forgotten. Highly recommended!
  2. _Gone Girl_ by American author Gillian Flynn definitely rings in my top five list.  This book is getting a ton of popularity right now, and rightly so, in my opinion.  I was a huge fan of CSI and crime thriller shows and books in my high schools years, and this is basically a more sophisticated version of that, to put it very simply.  Flynn dives deep into the presentation of conflicting narrations by a husband and wife, surrounding drama from the wife’s disappearance.  This author’s tone control makes readers lose themselves and the line between Flynn’s writing, and what seems like a true diary excerpts.  Psychologically twisted and definitely witty, this book hooked me in immediately.
  3. _The Perks of Being a Wallflower_ by American author Stephen Chbosky has been on my to-read list for a very long time now, and I’m happy to finally have read it.  With a movie coming out this fall, starring my beloved Emma Watson (Hermione from the Harry Potter film series) there’s been lots of chatter.  This book is a series of letters written by main character Charlie to an unknown “Dear friend”.  He writes about anything and everything he thinks is important: sometimes stream of consciousness, sometime deep, and sometimes on the brink of what I would think is a form of autism.  Though I found this novel a very quick read, it was funny, devastating, deep, curious, unique, and emotional.  I quickly found I was emotionally invested in the characters at the very beginning, never mind by the end!  If you don’t feel up to reading this, at least consider seeing the movie: the storyline is great, so hopefully the producers can do it justice.
  4. _The House at Riverton_ by Australian author Kate Morton.  This was the first I’ve read by this author, but I plan to look up more by her.  This story had a couple of really lovely characters drawn in the London early 1900s, one my favorite periods to read of.  I enjoyed the pacing, use of flashbacks, and the class contrasts between house servants and the wealthy.  You won’t think too much reading this, unless you want to.  That being said, this book’s vocabulary is much more advanced than the average novel, I found.  If other readers are anything like me, this book was a brilliant buy for my Nook, with its built-in dictionary.  Still, beautiful writing more like poetry strung together for a novel. Loved it.
  5. _Broken Harbor_ by Irish author Tana French.  There are four books in this author’s “Dublin Murder Squad Series,” but there’s really no importance in reading them in order.  These books are thriller mysteries written in beautiful Dublin dialect.  This author has a keen eye for details and also for human nature, making each of her books exciting and unique.  Personally, I’d skip #1 and start with book #2 as I believe it to be the best of the series, but this one was definitely worth the time put into it!

As always, my current to-read list is over-flowing, but I welcome the contest to see which books can get moved up to the top of my list.  Does anyone have any recommendations for me?  Make them good :)  And let me know if you pick up any of my Top 5!


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