Wednesday, June 13, 2007

books books books books books

A friend recently asked for suggestions for her summer reading list. Sadly, I never know what to say when I'm asked that. I'm not sure whether that's because there are too many or too few books right up front in my brain to know how to respond. To make replying a little less mentally taxing, I consulted my newly bought and assembled and already completely full (and overflowing into metal crate shelves) bookcase to find some favorite titles. Here are my selections with titles for both, as she put it, "poolside as well as thought-provoking material that leads to self-reflection and an [anonymous reader] more suited to the world's challenges." Please feel free to comment and add your own suggestions.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel-- good for both poolside and thoughtful times

The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe-- a (very) short satire on modern art

*I'd also recommend his satire on modern architecture, From Bauhaus to Our House

Jane Austen-- anything, though my personal favorites are Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb-- about breaking the 4 minute mile

Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women put Motherhood Before Marriage by Edin and Kefalas-- an interesting piece of sociology. much of it can be browsed. it's not a continuous story, but there are excellent excerpts from interviews, and has one of my favorite tid-bits of research tucked in its back pages, "[After-school] programs range in cost from $1000 to $4000 per teen per year, but since experts estimate that the typical non-marital birth costs taxpayers roughly $3,750 annually over 18 years, these programs might eventually save, not cost money. Research also shows that programs which engage these at-risk youth in service-learning are especially effective, though the experts aren't sure why."

In the Company of Men by Nancy Mace-- about one of the first women to attend The Citadel, a military academy

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom-- a Christian Dutch woman and her family who are hiding Jews get sent to concentration camps. Fascinating and moving.

Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
-- a story in South Africa just before apartheid was enacted. written in beautiful language. In London, most of the people I went to church with were African. I LOVED to hear them speak. It was so simple and honest and pure, like singing. It's hard to describe, but you can get a sense of it from this book.


laska said...

heather marie! I love your blog! it was so good to talk to you the other day (okay, a while ago). hope all is going well!

Susan said...

If I were brave I would suggest Stephen King's son's first book...his name is Joe Hill. but I guess I'm in danger of your mother 5 seconds on the floor story already. but I do enjoy Stephanie Meyer's thoughts in Twilight and New Moon and will definitely watch for Eclipse later this year.

Just been reading Egg by Joe Spinelli...cute juvenile book and at one point I was so startled I actually laughed for 3 pages. and then again,with tears running down my face as I read the pages to Jocelyn who was visiting.

D said...

I have never read any of those books except a few Jane Austen ones. Did you notice all of your books take place in the real world? I guess its only from my perspective that that seems bizzare. I mean, even when I read non-fiction, it's still science fiction. Like this book I just read, "The Language of Animals." It's a survey of research on animal communication systems. But while I'm reading it you know I'm thinking, "So, dolphins aren't really the second most intelligent species on earth?* Interesting."

* After mice, I mean.