I might have been a weird child, but I loved having summer reading lists in elementary school. I really don’t understand why I am the only kid in my family that loves reading so much. My younger brother and sister don’t seem to have the same penchant for it. Is it too soon to say there’s some generational difference due to technology? They are only 4 and 8 years younger than me.
Up until high school, every summer I would read at least 10 books. Then, I would take my list to the library or bookstore and get another free book for reading so many. For some reason, during the summers in between my years in high school I would read only a few books, and it wasn’t because the books were longer. I was just preoccupied with other things. But I realized that I really missed those days of endless reading and being able to get lost in another world through the pages of a book.
So this summer I wanted to do some catching up. And so far I’ve read:
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
- City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
And I’m currently reading Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.
Ok, so maybe my summer reading list isn’t what you would consider “”hardcore” especially since in the past I’ve been
through my “classic literature” phase when I downed Jane Austen and Bronte sister books, but who’s to say these books weren’t as intellectually stimulating. Sure, I’m not devouring Dickens or Shakespeare but at least I’m reading.
To start off, The Hunger Games trilogy is one of the best series I’ve read. I know I’m a little late to board the train but I’ve heard good things about the series for a long time and like I’ve already said, I just didn’t have the chance to read it
until now. I’m a huge fan of Dystopian novels. I read 1984 (Orwell) in middle school for (laugh if you want) my favorite band The Click Five’s, online board community book club. Well, I ended up loving it and Dystopian novels have been on my radar ever since. I actually reread 1984 in high school for fun. I read Brave New World (Huxley) for my senior year English class. To no surprise I really enjoyed it. So those two (1984 and Brave New World) I would categorize
together being those sort of Dystopian novels that have a historical connection with Communism and all that jazz. The Hunger Games I would couple with The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. These are sort of “young adult” (I use the term loosely) Dystopian novels that build around today’s Western, modern, fast-paced society. Although the books may be geared towards younger audiences, especially with romance plots, they both have something to offer and to consider once the books finish.
Reading the last two books in the Hunger Games series actually added more books to the list I wanted to read this summer. Suzanne Collins has been criticized for using elements of other works in the Hunger Games. Many have found similarities in her books and Lord of the Flies (Golding) and Battle Royale (Takami). I was curious and since I love this genre so much I had to read these books for myself. I borrowed Lord of the Flies from my library but I had to return it because I had borrowed too many books to finish them on time. However, I am currently reading Battle Royale and let me tell you, it does give of a vibe similar to The Hunger Games. Yes, there are teenagers fighting to death at the hands of their government, but The Hunger Games was in no way as gruesome with the details. The Japanese come up with the craziest things, and I’ll leave it at that. Battle Royale though, does change perspective from the different characters and it’s a good humanizing quality that is not seen in the Hunger Games.
It may have seemed awhile ago but I did mention my senior year English class. Well my teacher (shout out to Mr. Munson, like he would ever find my blog and read it) picked the greatest novels. We read Kite Runner and after that I told myself I would read A Thousand Splendid Suns and I did. They are both great novels. Hosseini is such an amazing storyteller. The two novels are similar in the culture and setting but differs in that one is in the male perspective
and the other in a female perspective. I liked A Thousand Splendid Suns better because the two protagonists were female and I could relate to them so much more. The novel really opened my eyes to the oppression and tyranny that young women in the Middle East must endure and it hurts even more because it is still going on today. That book took me on quite an emotional roller-coaster and at times I was cheering for the death of a character because I could not stand the way he treated women.
So lastly, I read the two latest books in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. To sum up, this series is a combination of Harry Potter and Twilight that takes place in New York City. I guess you could say it’s a racy, sexy version of Harry Potter where all the characters are good looking and amid the world-needs-saving plot-line there is a whole slew of relationship drama. What I like about this series is that it’s very modernized and kind of progressive. Unlike Harry Potter where it feels like you are going back in time by getting rid of all the technology,
Clare incorporates it into her story. There are also open homosexual couples in the series which is a big step. J.K. Rowling made Dumbledore gay, but she never used it in the plot. I think the Mortal Instruments is going to be our next “big” series, following the footsteps of Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. It definitely has all the right ingredients: great opportunities for special effects, attractive characters, magic, fighting, and romance. They are in production of a movie version which is in the casting phase.
I always end up writing so much haha. So now that you’ve read about what I’ve been reading, tell me what’s on your summer reading list? Do you have any recommendations for me based on what I’ve read?
(P.S. It would be great if you comment so I know that I have actual alive readers. I want to talk to you!)