Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Reading

In February, I decided to create a literature club at my college. I got it approved by student life, we started meeting, and we are now up and running. A total of nineteen people have attended at least one meeting, plus we have plenty of other members that follow the club and its many events. This club has really expanded my outlook on the world of literature, defined as "the art of written work."

So that brings me to my summer reading and how much of an effect this literature club has on it. Given that I have thirty-eight options and counting, my reading options will be those that come from that list. It's great that I already own a good portion of the books that are on the list. I'll just have to buy others that I have not bought just yet.

The books that lie on my radar include a handful of just about anything and everything. There's classic literature, contemporary literature, and any and every genre you could possibly name. It feels like a literary candy store that comes to you when you go to a bookstore such as Barnes & Noble (which seems like it's just about the only option these days). There are books by Stephen King, a favorite author of mine in which I own just about each of his works. There are books I looked into reading, such as Frankenstein and Dracula, that I just never got to. What I will be reading, though, is going to remain a surprise. I am going to pick and choose as I please. I'll give an effort to level out the playing field, but the books I already own will have the advantage.

The summer has been the time of season where I got the majority of my reading done. Obviously you don't have so much college in your schedule, so that helps out. Here are the five books I recommended and feel that you should check out during the summer as well if you haven't checked them out before...

Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes- This may very well be the greatest book I've ever read. The funniest thing is that I got this as a Christmas present, it wasn't something I bought. I was motivated to read it in my senior year of high school when my friend's anatomy class had to do a PowerPoint presentation on the book. Much of the story is told from the journal submissions of Charlie Gordon, a man with a low IQ who is given the opportunity to become smarter. The surgery worked on Algernon, a lab mouse, and so they feel will work for Charlie. The novel deals with the pros and cons of what the surgery entails and how some experiments can start off great, but become flawed.

Tell No One by Harlan Coben- This was a great summer read from back in 2008, when I wanted to read one of Coben's works before I met him at an author event he was holding. This brilliant thriller tells the story of Dr. David Beck and how his wife disappeared eight years prior to the story. Dr. Beck is having trouble coping with the situation, but that looks like the only thing he can do. He finds a message from his wife in an email one day, which leads him to believe that somewhere, she's out there, still alive. This novel keeps you hooked as you follow Dr. Beck through his adventure of looking for his wife, while being hunted down at the same time. One of the all time great thrillers of the century.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini- I like the read a book before I watch the movie adaptation of the book. However, there are some occasions where I did the reverse. One of which was The Kite Runner. I do, however, feel that both the film and the novel were excellent. If I had to choose between the two, I'd go with the novel, but just because it's far more descriptive and not limited like the film. In the story, Amir was friends with a boy named Hassan, who was the son of his father's servant, when he was a young boy in Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan used to compete in kite flying competitions, where Hassan would chase after the cut down kites. However, due to a misfortune event, there friendship becomes shattered and the two separate. Amir, now a writer in America, is given an opportunity to redeem himself with a return to Afghanistan. This is an extraordinary novel that provides such a strong depiction of the lives and struggles in Afghanistan. It sure made its breakthrough in American culture.

Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King- This is another novel of which I watched the film for first, but the novel is beyond excellent compared to the film. Hearts In Atlantis is split into five parts and starts with the dawn of the Vietnam era, goes into the midst of the Vietnam War, and continues with the aftermath of the war. King, known for his horror fiction, writes about a realistically scary subject with this novel. "Low Men In Yellow Coats" stands as the key story, as it introduces the cast in some way or another. "Hearts In Atlantis," "Blind Willie," "Why We're In Vietnam," and "Heavenly Shades Of Night Are Falling" follow. This novel is one of the most mesmerizing works I have read, and while I'll admit the film did create a strong imagery, the story did create a fine flow. The key differences are better in the book as well.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton- Back in my freshman year of high school, this was our assigned novel. The story is about the rundown, street-gang Greasers and the clean, upper-class Socs, told by Greaser Ponyboy Curtis. This novel, written by a sixteen-year-old female, really shows passion between characters and depicts how sometimes what you have is one another and that's that. Hinton wrote several other stories about street gangs engaging in rumbles, but The Outsiders was the original and it was the best.

These are the novels I recommend to you if you have yet to read them. As for me, I'm looking at my very own list and perhaps create some new favorites in my experience of reading literature. Perhaps I'll find plenty of nominations for my top ten list that I'll be creating at the end of the year. Happy reading to everyone! I know for me, I'll be engaging in some happy reading.

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