June 08, 2014

Read

June 8, 2014 Photo (159/365): "Summer Reading"

As finals week approaches, I have begun planning for a bit of summer R&R. What could be better that a warm day, a cozy chair on the deck or the beach, and a great book? Pewaukee High School has announced its 2014 summer reading book choices. Which books should I read? Have you read any of them?  So far, I've read Gone Girl, The Kite Runner, and of course, Pride and Prejudice, one of my all-time favorites. Do I dare try Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?! I did read Divergent and Insurgent so I suppose I should round out the trilogy with Insurgent.

If you need more book suggestions, review last summer's books. What are you reading this summer?
  • I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (4.1 stars on Goodreads): Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That's when the first ace arrives in the mail. That's when Ed becomes the messenger. Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (3.9 stars on Goodreads): On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about his wife's future, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (4.0 stars on Goodreads): What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad? Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say. But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view. And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod. In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman (4.0 stars on Goodreads): Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen. Stay, he says. Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind? Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters. If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (4.2 stars on Goodreads): "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. 
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (3.3 stars on Goodreads): “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, sword fights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth (3.6 stars on Goodreads) : The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (4.1 stars on Goodreads): The Summer Reading Group is proud to continue its support of the Academic Decathlon program by introducing the text that will be featured in the 2014-2015 Acadec competition.  Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is an exhilarating meditation on nature and its seasons—a personal narrative highlighting one year's exploration on foot in the author's own neighborhood in Tinker Creek, Virginia. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays 'King of the Meadow' with a field of grasshoppers.
  • Becoming a True Champion:  Achieving Athletic Excellence from the Inside Out by Kirk Mango (not pictured) (4.4 stars on Goodreads): Today, aspiring athletes have to work harder and be more dedicated than athletes of previous generations who did not have to contend with the messages of a popular culture that promotes winning at all costs and implicitly condones "shortcuts" to winning. Many of today's athletic superstars glorify and demonstrate cheating and illicit, destructive conduct. Whether off the field antics or on the field cheating through the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs typify an athlete's lack of personal values, the bad behavior displayed by many in a broad range of sports is hard to escape. The result is that too many such negative role models and influences are out there, diverting today's developing competitors down a seductive path to failure rather than upward to excellence and lasting, honest achievement. Becoming a True Champion: Achieving Athletic Excellence from the Inside Out fills a critical need by speaking in a frank and direct voice directly to today's aspiring athletes about these crucial, controversial issues and the personal choices they face. At the same time the book presents them with the antidote to these negative influences-the fundamental values, attitudes and concepts, both mental and practical, that support and lead to athletic excellence. A "true champion" is an athlete with the specific qualities of character, mental discipline, and physical skills necessary to generate and keep increasing athletic excellence and success throughout his or her career. These qualities can be learned and developed; they need not be inborn. Becoming a True Champion goes deeply into each quality to show developing athletes how adopting it directly affects and enhances athletic performance, longevity, and dignity. Through relevant examples, inspiring stories, and a personalized approach, the book shows athletes how to avoid the many pitfalls, and overcome the inevitable obstacles so common in today's sports culture.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (4.2 Stars on Goodreads): A deeply moving fiction debut is an illiterate Afghan boy with an uncanny instinct for predicting exactly where a downed kite will land.  Growing up in the city of Kabul in the early 1970s, Hassan was narrator Amir's closest friend even though the loyal 11-year-old with "a face like a Chinese doll" was the son of Amir's father's servant and a member of Afghanistan's despised Hazara minority.  But in 1975, on the day of Kabul's annual kite-fighting tournament, something unspeakable happenened between the two boys.
  • The Kite Runner (graphic novel) by Khaled Hosseini (author), Fabio Celoni (illustrator), and Mirka Andolfo (illustrator) (4.2 Stars on Goodreads): The perennial bestseller-now available as a sensational new graphic novel. Since its publication in 2003, nearly 7 million readers have discovered The Kite Runner. Through Khaled Hosseini's brilliant writing, a previously unknown part of the world was brought to vivid life for readers. Now, in this beautifully illustrated graphic novel adaptation, Hosseini brings his compelling story to a new generation of readers.
  • V for Vendetta (graphic novel) by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (illustrator) (4.2 stars on Goodreads): "Good evening, London." It's nine o'clock and this is The Voice of Fate... It is the Fifth of the Eleventh, Nineteen-Ninety-Seven..."The people of London are advised that the Brixton and Streatham areas are quarantine zones as of today. It is suggested that these areas be avoided for reasons of health and safety...Police raided seventeen homes in the Birmingham area early this morning, uncovering what is believed to be a major terrorist ring. Twenty people are currently in detention awaiting trial...The weather will be fine until 12:07 A.M. when a shower will commence, lasting until 1:30 A.M... Have a pleasant evening." A frightening and powerful tale of the loss of freedom and identity in a chillingly believable totalitarian world, V for Vendetta stands as one of the highest achievements of the comics medium and a defining work for creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Set in an imagined future England that has given itself over to fascism, this groundbreaking story captures both the suffocating nature of life in an authoritarian police state and the redemptive power of the human spirit which rebels against it. "Remember, remember the fifth of November..."
  • The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman (4.1 stars on Goodreads): Know that there are many words behind the few on this paper...Fifteen-year-old Nawra lives in Darfur, Sudan, in a camp for refugees displaced by the Janjaweed’s trail of murder and destruction. Nawra cannot read or write, but when a nonprofit organization called Save the Girls pairs her with an American donor, Nawra dictates her thank-you letters. Putting her experiences into words begins to free her from her devastating past—and to brighten the path to her future. K. C. is an American teenager from Richmond, Virginia, who hates reading and writing—or anything that smacks of school. But as Nawra pours grief and joy into her letters, she inspires K. C. to see beyond her own struggles. And as K. C. opens her heart in her responses to Nawra, she becomes both a dedicated friend and a passionate activist for Darfur. In this poetic tale of unlikely sisterhood, debut author Sylvia Whitman captures the friendship between two girls who teach each other compassion and share a remarkable bond that bridges two continents.
  • October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman (4.1 stars on Goodreads): Winner of a 2013 Stonewall Honor! A masterful poetic exploration of the impact of Matthew Shepard’s murder on the world. On the night of October 6, 1998, a gay twenty-one-year-old college student named Matthew Shepard was lured from a Wyoming bar by two young men, savagely beaten, tied to a remote fence, and left to die. Gay Awareness Week was beginning at the University of Wyoming, and the keynote speaker was Lesléa Newman, discussing her book Heather Has Two Mommies. Shaken, the author addressed the large audience that gathered, but she remained haunted by Matthew’s murder. October Mourning, a novel in verse, is her deeply felt response to the events of that tragic day. Using her poetic imagination, the author creates fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence Matthew was tied to, the stars that watched over him, the deer that kept him company, and Matthew himself. More than a decade later, this stunning cycle of sixty-eight poems serves as an illumination for readers too young to remember, and as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard’s life.