Summer’s here! Or so it should be. After showing a glimpse of its power on Monday, the sun has retreated back behind the safety of the clouds, leaving Switzerland longing for warmer days to come. But hope for sunnier days shouldn’t be abandoned. When summer finally arrives, one of finer pleasures of life is to take a book to your neighborhood park, the municipal swimming pool or the trendy café right down the road. And should the sun decide to skip town completely this year, holing up with a good book and cup of tea can at least take your mind to far-away places. My obsession of the week are the following reads I’d recommend to you for your summer reading!
I’ve made reading books a priority again since the beginning of the year, devouring them on my daily commute and on lazy days after going through a reading draught during my college days. I’d like to share some of the most interesting books I’ve read in the last months with you. Since I don’t work for a book shop or publisher, I don’t know which of the new releases will be great, so most of these stories have been on the market for a while. But that shouldn’t keep you from checking them out!
The books I loved most this year were The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men, the three books forming the Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness. Set on “New World” in the distant future, it details the story of a boy and a girl trying to survive on a planet where no thought is a secret. Officially, it’s a young adult novel, but that shouldn’t deter you from picking it up as it is inventive, fast-paced and always unpredictable. Covering the journey of Todd and Viola from the little village they first meet to the biggest city of the New World, the two main characters find themselves fighting off enemies seemingly unbeatable. But together, they represent hope and the future of a damaged world. Mr Ness manages to incude an irrestible urge to find out if and how they will succeed. It is one of those books you can’t put down once you’ve started. Like when watching an addicting tv series, I found myself thinking “one more chapter” more than once. While many trilogies start out with their strongest effort, this one just seems to get better with every page.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
What happens when all goes wrong? This novel follows a year in the life at a small American college obsessed with baseball. The main protagonist is a young baseball prospect excelling at his sport and bringing glory to his college and his friends. Until one day, his confidence is shaken by his first mistake. The following downward spiral not only affects him, but also the whole cosmos on campus. Well-written and full of likeable characters, relationships take central stage in this book. Relationships between friends, father and daughter and of romantic nature are all explored at considerable depth, held together by the background of college life and baseball season.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is a book at the same time terribly sad and undeniably uplifting. The love story of teenagers Hazel and Augustus is full of tender moments, unexpected drama and never-ending hope. Their lives are complicated by the fact that both of them are battling or have battled cancer. While all the major characters are always aware of the fate that might await them, they are not deterred by this predicament. After meeting Augustus, Hazel learns to tackle life with youthful energy and renewed optimism. The story blends feelings of melancholy and episode of seriousness with the sweetness of love and passages of fantastic humor. It is a novel about life and making the best of the hand you’ve been dealt. I can say that it is probably the most inspiring piece of writing I’ve come across this year.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One tells the story of a future where in 2044 the real world has broken down due to wars and humanity flees into a virtual space called OASIS. Wade Owens is one of many searching for a golden egg promising incredible wealth and fame. The prize however is hidden anywhere in the virtual world making the search comparable to looking for a needle in a haystack. Luckily, OASIS’ creator James Halliday left behind a riddle for the world to solve. As he adored the eighties, the riddle is filled with pop culture references from the decade I was lucky enough to be born in. Wade takes it upon him to solve the riddle, which proves to be the first of many challenges to overcome. While the modern and virtual world is imagined with a lot of care, it really is these inside jokes and easter eggs which breathe life into the book. A great read for everyone who (like me) has nerdy passions as movies, video games and 80’s music.
Extra: My personal summer reading list
I’ve already read the books above, so what will I be reading this summer? At the moment I’m reading the second book of the “A Song ofIce and Fire” series by George R.R Martin (probably better known as Game of Thrones nowadays) and planning on starting to delve into the artistic world of graphic novels with the Sandman series. Continuing my quest of going through Neil Gaiman books, I’m also looking forward to his newest work coming out in two weeks “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. Non-fiction books on my to-read shelf include “The Signal and the Noise” by Nate Silver and the biography of Theodore Roosevelt written by Edmund Morris. As these books shouldn’t last me through summer, I’d be glad to hear your ideas and recommendations in the comments!
If you enjoy my writing, I’d be grateful if you share my blog with your friends or connect with me on Twitter! I’d love to hear feedback from you.
See you on Friday with chapter 5 of “An elusive hero”!