A few months ago, I published my tips for summer reading and I can say I have progressed quite a bit through the books I wanted to read finishing A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin and the Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman. I haven’t gotten very far on my non-fiction reading, because the world of fiction will not let me go. Currently I’m reading A Player of Games by Iain M. Banks and the Unwritten Series of graphic novels written by Mike Carey and drawn by Peter Gross. But every time I stop by my favorite bookshop, other books catch my attention, pushing some of my picks further down the to-do list. I decided to recommend some of the books <I read the last month.
Divergent / Insurgent
One of the most thrilling books I’ve read in recent times is the young adult dystopian thriller Divergent and its second part Insurgent by Veronica Roth. In the Chicago of an unspecified future, humans are split into five factions according to which virtue they believe to be the most important one: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peacefulness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (courage) and Erudite (intelligence). Beatrice, who grew up among the selfless, faces a difficult choice on her 16th birthday between her upbringing and what she really feels inside. After taking the leap, she learns of conflict between the factions which disturbs the balance amongst the inhabitants of the city. Ms Roth manages to paint a very interesting picture of a future society and creates very believable and relatable characters. Combined with a fast pace it makes the first book a wonderful ride. The second book suffers a bit from being the middle part of a trilogy, but picks up tremendously after a slow beginning, setting the stage for the third book Allegiant, which is set for publication this fall. So if you haven’t read the first two books, you should definitely check them out in time for the third book and the upcoming motion picture release.
Bird by Bird
Bird by Bird is a book about writing by Anne Lamott. I learnt a lot about writing by reading this book, which is full of autobiographical anecdotes and details. Ms Lamott takes great care in describing many of the problems and obstacles aspiring writers face and manages to pass on her experience with a dry sense of humour. Among the most important lessons I got out of the book is the concept of taking everything one step at a time and writing down a terrible first draft, which will then evolve over time. After all, having parts of your idea on paper is better than having nothing. I can only recommend this book to anybody who enjoys to write or who would like to learn about the mind of many writers, as I can imagine many feel the same, when faced with the task of turning their ideas into words.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman is a fantastic book, which defies the norms of genre. It’s an epic story. Shadow, a big and quiet man, is released from an American prison a few days early after hearing his wife and his best friend have been killed in a car accident. On the way to the funeral, he meets the mysterious Wednesday, who offers him a well-paid job as his, well, assistant. When Shadow takes the man up on his word, he is thrown into the budding war between the Old Gods, who travelled to America when the first vikings, slave and discoverers crossed the ocean and the New Gods, represented by the media, Internet and television. Mr. Gaiman’s writing is poetic and imaginative. His characters are rich, colorful and fascinating. The main story is interrupted by tales of how the old gods managed to arrive in the US and how they’ve survived so far. I loved American Gods and couldn’t put the book down while reading it. Together with the Chaos Walking trilogy it’s probably my favorite book I’ve read this year.
So these are three (well actually four) books I can only recommend you check out during the remaining days of summer. If you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments.
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