Summer Reading (the fun kind)

I love reading- I always have! In grade school, I zoomed through books constantly. I often would get caught up in a book and lie on my bed to read for an entire day. I had many teachers reprimand me for reading during class. I guess I have never been ashamed of my nerdiness and love for books.

When I went to college, reading became difficult. With all the assigned reading and homework, when I finally had spare time I wanted to move or sleep, not sit around with a book. At last, I got back into reading when I figured out a way to work it into my school routine. I realized that instead of flipping through channels while on the Stairmaster or elliptical at the gym, I could read. It worked amazingly well. It even helped me to work out longer, because I was so into the book.

This summer, I have had even more free time to dive into books.

Here are some of my favorite reads from this summer:

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

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This series was a wonderful surprise. I didn’t anticipate liking it, mostly because I assumed it would be too “young adult-y” (meaning predictable and unrealistic). The first book sat on my mom’s shelf for a while, until I finally decided to pick it up. I knew the movie was coming out soon, so I figured I would go ahead and read the book. Despite my expectations of fluffy love stories, the books were actually rather dark and sometimes disturbing. I love that the story is set in a dystopia- books involving the future times are always intriguing to me. Also, the characters were well-developed, not unlike the “Harry Potter” books (which I will adore forever). I loved the “Hunger Games”, but I think this series may have surpassed even those in my eyes. I am so impressed that the author is only 24 years old. I mean, the story is so very intriguing and creative. I couldn’t put these down, I finished all three pretty quickly. I know the end of the series made a lot of fans angry, but in my opinion,  it was appropriate. While it was sad, it made so much sense. FYI- the movie is great too! I love Shaliene Woodley and Kate Winslet- in fact, all of the acting was great.

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman

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Per recommendation of my BFF, Rachel, I checked this one out from the library. It was hilarious! The only truly funny book on this list. The humor was very dry, mostly because the narrator was so socially awkward and incredibly too self-aware. But man, I actually laughed out loud several times throughout this book. It also increased my vocabulary, thanks to its use of GRE-type words. If you want a good laugh, read this.

Gone Girl by Gilligan Flynn

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After reading a few rave reviews, I decided to pick this book up. Man! It is a page turner. It is a high-intensity, twisted, and shocking story. (It is fun to read books that are so unlike my own life. It gives me a little drama to enjoy, but not any that I have to be responsible for. )If you like a thriller, you should definitely read this one. I was honestly completely thrown off by the story’s many surprises. I am excited to see the movie- I think Ben Affleck was a great pick for the main character.

Off Course by Michelle Huneven

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This was a book that I randomly picked up at the library, because I thought the cover looked neat. (Yes, I totally judge books by their cover). The author is so talented at creating believable characters. I felt connected to the main character, her emotions and reactions felt like mine. The story is somewhat commonplace, but it’s the depth of the relationships that really brought me in. It is about how a woman’s decision to move to her parents’ mountain house to finish her dissertation changes her and the relationships she creates. I felt like I watched the main character become a woman and find her own. It was very inspiring.

Blame by Michelle Huneven

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Wow! This one is probably one of my all-time favorites now. Like in “Off Course”, the main character is described in such great detail that I felt like I really knew her. In the beginning, the main character kills two strangers while drunk driving. From there, the story follows her as she tries to build her life anew and live through the guilt. It is such a beautiful story of redemption and healing. After reading this, I saw the author’s recurrent theme of addiction and obsessions in her characters. It’s like the author has a deep understanding of humankind- she is able to give life to her characters and leaves me wanting more. I think I will purchase this one, so that I can reread it in a few years.

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Now I am reading “Round Rock”, another book by Michelle Huneven. Her writing is just so good! I tried to read other books, like one by Jodi Picoult as well as “Franny and Zooey” by J.D. Salinger. I have read many of Picoult’s books that I liked very much, but the ones I have been picking up lately have not been able to keep my attention. As for “Franny and Zooey”, I wanted to like it, but I found the dialogue to be a little too annoying, honestly. I got through Franny, but could not trudge through Zooey. For those that have read it, what did you enjoy about?

Hopefully, I will be able to squeeze another one or two books in after “Round Rock” before school starts on the 25th. If not, it has still been a great summer of reads.

Any books steal your attention lately? 

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