Any plans for this summer?

I find books to be incredibly seasonal. Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot on a whim and juggle my TBR without reason. And still, for me, fall requires its usual dose of Gothic horror and winter demands a heavy Russian tome. Spring is the time when I’m eager to try something new, while summer… well, summer is special. This is the season for me to go on an unforgettable adventure and relive childhood memories: the sun, the light breeze, the ever-present buzzing of cicadas, and far away lands on the pages of a good book. If I had all the time in the world (like I used to in my carefree days of summer vacations) this would be my reading list for 2013:

Summer Reading1. Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien: I read The Fellowship of the Ring last summer and found it to be a perfect companion for the season. A dangerous journey on a quest to save the world, all from the comfort of your own armchair? Where do I sign up? Magic and fantastic creatures, heroes and damsels in distress, wicked foes that are bound to kneel before supreme good – what a delicious mix of exciting and comforting. In the end of the last installment I left Frodo and Sam on the banks of a river, just as the fellowship had fallen apart. The two made a pact to travel alone to avoid anyone being tempted into stealing The One Ring of Sauron and set off for Mordor. I had a few issues with predictability of the book, but that doesn’t stand in my way of enjoying the next part. I’ve never seen the movies, so I am completely in the dark about the events that are about to happen.

2. Całe zdanie nieboszczyka by Joanna Chmielewska: I don’t believe this book has ever been translated into English, but it is probably the funniest, wittiest, and most entertaining book to come out of Poland. The rough translation of the title is “Dead Man’s Tale”, and if any publisher will ever read this post, I am strongly urging you to bring this greatness to English-speaking audience. Mounts of gold and eternal glory are guaranteed! The heroine of the book by accident comes to learn the exact coordinates of a buried treasure. She is immediately kidnapped by ruthless mafia, who wants to learn the secret, and must cross the ocean, escape a dungeon, and see through false friends and corrupt police to get back home safely. The narrative is lighthearted and the main character is charmingly self-depreciating (definitely not the usual Mary Sue). I’ve read this one once before and seen the television series, but I am craving for a re-read this summer.

3. Jaws by Peter Benchley: Leave it to me to be the one sitting on the beach and flipping through a man-eating shark drama! Da-dum, da-dum… The movies and the book scared me off swimming when I was a kid, but I still enjoy reading about monster sharks (sitting somewhere dry, that is). This story is familiar to pretty much everyone, right? A great white shark appears one day in the waters by a small resort town of Amity and kills a young woman. The mayor, afraid that the terrible news of a man-eating shark would ruin the upcoming vacation season, pressures police chief Martin Brody to write the death off as a motorboat accident. A few days later, however, the shark comes back and kills two more people, raising panic in town and a desperate search for a man capable of hunting the animal down. I think I am going to save this one for the Shark Week in August, perhaps reading some nonfiction book on the subject as well.

4. Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler: I am a big fan of Tomb Raider, Uncharted, and Indiana Jones franchises (did I really mention it like 10,000 times already?). There is just something about an adventure story set in an exotic, remote location and involving an ancient hidden treasure with booby-traps and puzzles that makes me incredibly happy. Unfortunately, I’ve had a hard time finding good quality fiction in that department. One day I decided to Google “Indiana Jones-like books” and got a suggestion for Clive Cussler’s Fargo Adventures series. I read the blurb for the first book and considered Clive Cussler’s extensive writing career before finally deciding to give it a go. It’s been sitting on my TBR for a few months now, so this summer might be a good opportunity to kick back and get lost in a fictional jungle.

5. Inferno by Dan Brown: The new Robert Langdon book is to be released next month, and I can’t wait to read it. Even though The Last Symbol (book #3) left me disappointed, I am still willing to give in into some mindless fun Dan Brown has to offer. Apparently this book is based on Dante’s Inferno, so ideally I’d read the poem first, but that all depends on my free time. I really hope the new novel will not follow the same old formula Langdon books became known for: dead/kidnapped scholar in the beginning, a female relative of the scholar that exists only to aid Robert, a crazy minor villain with a knack for self-mutilation, and a real villain that everyone thought to be a good guy. Predictability will not get you many places, Dan.

Such is my list of non-committal, straight-to-the-fun-bits, brains-not-required summer reading wishlist. Do you have any plans for this summer? Any recommendations for me to check out?

2 comments

  1. I’ve read the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, plus The Hobbit, and while I liked all of them I only fell in love with The Hobbit. I recommend it a lot if you haven’t read it yet. I wished I could speak all the languages, then I’d be able to read all this gems that haven’t been translated yet. Because that book sounds brilliant! As a biologist, and someone who loves sharks, I find a bit hard to overlook Jaws’ inaccuracies. I used to love the movie when I was a kid, but never considered reading the book, maybe I will someday. I haven’t read The Lost Symbol yet, so I can’t say I’ll be reading Inferno soon, just hope it’s good. Happy reading!

  2. Yep, I’ve read The Hobbit a couple of years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit! I’m reading LotR with a tinge of skepticism, since I am usually very hype-aversed bookie. But I figured, you have to read the trilogy at least once in your life! The first book was ok: it dragged in some places (the council in Rivendell) and picked up action in other. I was somewhat annoyed with Gandalf, who obviously had more power than he was willing to use to help hobbits on their journey. But overall, I still found the book a good old-fashion adventure romp.

    I am trying to learn other languages (which takes time away from reading :() for this very reason. I hope in the future more and more publishers will turn their attention to foreign authors, so everyone can benefit from the increased amounts of awesome.

    Jaws are incredibly inaccurate and actually contributed to public fear of sharks and dwindling of their population, I totally agree. I still love the book because I can separate fact from fiction. Also, I am terrified of sharks myself to the point of experiencing involuntary shudder when I see their gaping jaws reaching at me from pages of an encyclopedia. I know my fear is irrational, but as a person who can’t swim and is scared to death of deep, dark water, I tend to be suspicious of things that might be swimming under. If something unseen touches my foot, I might have a heart attack. It’s actually pretty sad. Books with killer sharks (or other real or fictional deep-sea creatures) is sort of a way for me to face my fears and say, Hey this is fiction! I know there is a much better chance to be killed by a falling vending machine than a shark, so these creatures do deserve some apology from Hollywood.

    I’m really counting on Inferno now! Loved The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, but The Lost Symbol really punched me in the kidneys there. It was a good book on its own, but after reading the first two, it was so easy to predict the big twist in the end! Like I said, Brown relies on the same techniques over and over, and that shoots him in the foot as an author. I’m crossing my fingers!

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