Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Reading List.  Five Books you should think about reading. 

I'll start with this book, because you should have read it as a kid. But it's not too late. And if you did read it as a kid, it's time to re-read it with grown-up eyes and understand how scary some of the stuff in it is. You might have watched Little House on the Prarie as a kid, but that show had very little to do with these books other than share the name. These books are rougher and not always pleasant looks at pioneer life. If you feel like doing a set read start with By the Shores of Silver Lake & read The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prarie and this one. At its heart this is the story of a girl who worked her butt off to help her family & to support her blind sister and how she finally decided to have a little fun by taking up with a hot dude who had some really fast & pretty horses.

In addition to being a wonderful British mystery, this book is a fascinating look at women's roles in the 1920s. Since it was written in the 1920s by a woman author who had lead something of an unconvential life, it's the real deal, not just someone looking back and guessing what people must have been experiencing. If you think the struggle of balancing work & a personal life is something new, this book will set you straight. It is also a fascinating look inside Oxford Academia which will make all the Anglophiles out there purr with delight as we sip our tea. The dialogue is sharp and funny. Again I would suggest a series of books starting with Strong Poison followed by Have his Carcase, then Gaudy Night & finally Busman's Honeymoon. The essense of this book is the author actually examing her own life and her own choices and slipping it all into a great read of a mystery.

Every wonder where weird trends come from? Why suddenly everyone gets the same haircut and starts drinking Chai? Connie Willis has the answers in this fabulous book which is catergorized as fantasy, though there really aren't that many fantastical elements in it. Life is just weird and she gets it.

Straight up supernatural fantasy that is almost entirely vampire & werewolf free. Did you realize that London had a secret supernatural underground that you can't see? Truthfully, I bought this book for the title and fell in love with hard-boiled private eye John Taylor & the Nightside series.

Now for some non-fiction. With climate change much in the news these days, this book seems especially relevant. As it shows, the climate can change suddenly and drastically even if people have nothing to do with the cause.  David Keys documents how a violent volcanic eruption around 535 AD helped give rise to the plague, the collapse of the Roman Empire & the rise of Islam among other things. A fascinating and eye opening read.


Cheryl said...

I've read all but 'Hex and the City.' I'll check it out. You might like the semi-supernatural (and awesomely funny) Bryant and May mysteries by Christopher Fowler. The first one is set in WWII London (mostly) but other than that, they are the adventures of the most elderly detectives ever. (Don't let the elderly part put you off.)

Cyn said...

I've downloaded the first Bryant and May mystery to my Kindle.

A Time For Art~Daily Paintings by Kristen Dukat said...

I've only read the entire Little house series, but I should get extra credit for reading it no less than 40 times, and I'm pretty sure my childhood mirrored that of Laura's (people in Vermont thought it was cool to live that way, I guess, but basically it's all we could afford) I'm going to have to check out the other books you suggested though, I'm due for a day on the porch rocking chair and a good book.

Cyn said...

As an adult reading The Long Winter is terrifying, because you realize how truly close they all were to starving to death. An excellent non-fiction book about the Dakota blizzards and how they led to the founding of the National Weather Service is "The Children's Blizzard."