Summer Reading For People Who Hate Summer Reading

Books – the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity.  ~George Steiner


It’s summer reading season at the library. Personally I can’t imagine a summer without books, but it seems some folks have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the whole proposition. Most of these are the ones who, if they read a book at all during the summer, turn in James Patterson novels with sand trapped between the Mylar and the dust jacket.

This list is for everyone who can’t stand the idea of being force-fed The Giver or The Outsiders , or remember such drudgery from school. Personally I’ll pick up any book that looks good. These particular books are just plain fun. Some of them have won awards or are written by acclaimed authors. Others are the literary equivalent of cotton candy. Since I devote a bit of space on my sidebar to books I read, it’s only fair that I share some of them with my readers. I also tried to keep a theme here: each of these books has something “summery” about it. And no book reports are required, folks.

Summer is Baseball: The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrychby Doug Wilson

I love a good Cinderella story, and there’s hardly a better one than Mark Fidrych, who was a rookie phenom before I was born. This was my kind of guy: he talked to the baseball, dug up the dirt around the pitcher’s mound, and shook hands with the groundskeepers. Even if you don’t like baseball, you’ll be charmed by the meteoric rise and fall of one of America’s forgotten heroes.

Summer is Weddings: “Insane Cityby Dave Barry

Predictable? Yes. Corny? Kind of. Derivative of The Hangover? OK, yeah. It’s also gut-bustingly hilarious. Imagine, if you will, the Wolf Pack on the loose in sunny Miami with half the cast of Seinfeld in tow, with a pinch of the Marx Brothers and a dash of Every Which Way But Loose. Read it alone just so you don’t annoy people with howls of laughter.

Summer is Road Trips: “Going Bovineby Libba Bray

I’m not much of a YA reader anymore, but this one sucker-punched me with its witty dialogue and zany surrealism. It’s a sort of Don Quixote for the MTV generation, and features a happiness cult, a Norse god trapped in a garden gnome’s body, and a paranoid dwarf named Gonzo. It’s the kind of book Hunter S. Thompson might have written if he were actually trying to be funny.

Summer is Internships: “Marcelo in the Real Worldby Francisco Stork

There have been a number of books written with Asperger’s protagonists recently. This is by far my favorite: it’s hilarious, touching, sad, and moving. The title character’s voice is one I couldn’t get out of my mind for weeks afterward. It’s that rare novel which serves as both entertainment and enlightenment.

Summer is Travel: “Random Violenceby Jassy Mackenzie

I needed a good new female protagonist, and I got one in this series. I also needed a South Africa fix since District 9 won’t have a sequel anytime soon. This is the first in the Jade de Jong mystery series, and it’s a gritty, tough look into life in Johannesburg. I don’t think I’d want to live there, but reading these books has been a good compromise.

Summer is Patriotic: “In the President’s Secret Serviceby Ronald Kessler

I don’t pretend to think politicians, even presidents and their families, are perfect. This book, written by a former agent, is that type of book. It’s an interesting behind-the-scenes look at what is maybe the hardest job in America.

Summer is Adventure: “The Lost City of Zby David Grann

This is the kind of book that just feels like a big-budget adventure film. It’s the story of Percy Fawcett, the Indiana Jones of his day, and how he disappeared looking for a legendary lost city in the Amazon rainforest. Like Indy’s film exploits, this is not for the fainthearted.

Are you doing Summer Reading this year? What book or books would you recommend?

Don’t forget to submit your questions for our new contest for a chance to win an Amazon or iTunes gift card!

~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on June 17, 2013.

2 Responses to “Summer Reading For People Who Hate Summer Reading”

  1. Some good options in here. I put “The Bird” on my Goodreads lists right away. I haven’t read “Going Bovine” yet, but I did read the three books she wrote in the Gemma Doyle series.

    I love it when librarians give recommendations. Y’all always know the best stuff!

  2. Some of those look pretty good.

    Unfortunately, I had to put my recreational reading on hold since I am taking classes during the summer. I only have one book (Modern Recording Techniques) out of the two classes, but I don’t want to take the chance of falling behind. So my nose has been to the grindstone (so-to-speak) on our reading assignments in my sound engineering class, and I am ahead of everyone else reading-wise.

    Once the summer semester has finished, I will probably try to get back to my current pile of books that I have yet to finish during my downtime.

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