The Books of the Longest Summer

The Books of the Longest Summer

I’m back.

What’s my excuse this time for being gone so long, you may ask. Well – nothing that sounds justifiable. Summer, which is only now ending for me, was long. I have never counted September as summer, but when the graduate school you are attending is on a quarter system everything changes. Read more

River God

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River God
by Wilbur Smith

 

“River God” transports you back in time to ancient Egypt through the eyes of the beloved slave Taita. Through Taita the reader experiences the immense love of childhood friends turned lovers, the glory and melancholy of a nation at war, and the intricacies of Egyptian culture and religion. Read more

Comedy or Tragedy?: A Confederacy of Dunces

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A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole

Reading Challenges: 20 In Your 20s

 

Have you ever read a book you either could not finish or had difficulty understanding? Up until the past month, the only book (besides school readings) that I did not enjoy or “get” was Jane Eyre. If you were to ask me why I do not like Jane Eyre, I couldn’t tell you. I tried three times to read that book and I was never successful.

Last month, I picked up A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Toole’s work became my next read for two reasons – my boyfriend suggested it and my father included a sweet note when gifting me the book for my birthday. Read more

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

From the Desert To the Improbable: The Tenth Saint and An Archeological Adventure

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The Tenth Saint
by D.J. Niko

 

The arid, unforgiving desert of Ethiopia plays host to the majority of D.J Niko’s thrilling novel. The Tenth Saint follows the work of Sarah Weston, an Oxford trained archeologist too independent for her own good. While on a dig, Sarah uncovers a tomb filled with perplexing finds. A tall, white man with good and advanced dentistry dating to the 4th century? An obscure dialect carved into the walls? Sarah, driven by a wish to learn and share the past, dives into an archeological mystery that will threaten her life,  her career, and question the impossible.

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To the Afterlife and Back: Grim

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Grim
by Anna Waggener

 

Grim, as my first book after a long semester of graduate school, was a particularly enthusiastic read for me. The author, Anna Waggener, was a classmate of mine in undergraduate school. Please, though, do not think my favorable comments about Grim are in any way the result of friendly support. I do not deny that I may lack the ability to offer deep criticism of the plot and writing style, because I am excited for Anna’s career as a writer and believe in supporting such a talented writer at the beginning. Read more

Brussels

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m back in school. This time it is the big bad world of graduate school. Between reading 500+ pages a week, research, trying to figure out what I want to do, and generally attempting to remain sane — Sitting in the Stacks has taken a back seat. Though, I am in the process of finishing Moby Dick. Whether I will have anything constructive to say, because it has been about 2 months since I’ve really read it. Fingers crossed, I will have something by the end of December (maybe earlier if we’re lucky). Read more

Summer Summary

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Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

At the beginning of the summer, I joined the masses and picked up a copy of The Hunger Games. Unfortunately I approached this addictive series differently than I normally do movie-book franchises — I saw the movie first. My main reason for picking up The Hunger Games was to reap the extra background information necessary to fully understand the intricacies of the film. I was left pleasantly surprised and frustrated after reading the first book in the trilogy. Read more

A Book To Be Digested Very Slowly: The Name of the Rose

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The Name of the Rose
by Umberto Eco

 

*Before I relate the tale of The Name of the RoseI feel I owe anyone who stuck through my prolonged absence a sincere apology. To anyone who thinks I relinquished my love of books, I say fie! In all honesty — I was lazy. After graduating from college I went on a literal and metaphorical holiday. I literally traveled to two states and one country. I metaphorically took a hiatus in a land of no responsibility. As summer comes to an end, I find myself restless (as usual) and ready to attend to sharing literary findings again. That and graduate school is around the corner — gulp. On to books!

Fourscore and seven years ago….not really, but it does feel as if I read The Name of the Rose ages ago. Back in February (remember that cold, cold month?) I was lent The Name of the Rose. At first I was extremely daunted by this tome — it’s 502 pages. Upon finishing, I was still daunted, but that may be because I am not sure I fully understood everything that happened. Why, you ask? To explain such complexities in prose would be difficult, so I shall address my reasons in a list. Read more

Dystopic Battles: The Hunger Games

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Hunger Games Triology
by Suzanne Collins

 

At the beginning of the summer, I joined the masses and picked up a copy of The Hunger Games. Unfortunately I approached this addictive series differently than I normally do movie-book franchises — I saw the movie first. My main reason for picking up The Hunger Games was to reap the extra background information necessary to fully understand the intricacies of the film. I was left pleasantly surprised and frustrated after reading the first book in the trilogy. The surprise came from the fact that Suzanne Collins captivated me with her intriguing plot and cliffhangers. On the other hand, my frustration resulted from a lack of background detail that left Collins’ world-creation wanting. She provides some history of Panem, while developing the current state of the country, but Collins doesn’t go far enough and leaves the reader feeling as if they’re just short of fully understanding the complicated politics of this seemingly post-apocalyptic society.

The Hunger Games trilogy was the perfect summer read, despite the criticisms I may have. The story kept me glued to the pages and scrambling to find the next in the series. I even stayed up to 6am to finish the final installment of The Hunger Games in one day. At the very end, Collins writes a conclusion I must applaud, because I did not see it coming. While at times I sensed a predictable pattern in the unfurling plot, the ending left me baffled. The Hunger Games trilogy is for anyone needing a temporary escape to another world and is the perfect vacation read.

Note: This post was originally posted in the “Summer Summary” of 2012.