Summer reading list!

Sooo… my plan to write three pages a day hasn’t gone very well. Yet. By making that pledge right at the start of the school year, when the kids have a million things happening and I have a bunch of extra volunteer responsibilities, I may have set myself up for failure. But I’m not giving up, just restarting. (Although today, I went to a writer friend’s house for a “writing day” with grand plans of getting pages and pages written, then realized that I’d forgotten my laptop power cord–meaning that the battery on my elderly laptop died within the hour. Sigh.)

“Sweet Solitude” by Edmund Blair Leighton

In the meantime, I have managed to write about the books I read over the summer! Here’s what I’ve been reading. If you have any recs from your summer reading list, post them in the comments!

Room, by Emma Donoghue: I got this book more than a year ago, but I put off reading it because of the subject matter: Room is told from the point of view of 5-year-old Jack, who is being raised in a prison-like room where his mother has been held captive for seven years. Jack’s biological father is their captor. Depressing, right? Not as much as I’d thought. It quickly becomes clear to the reader that Jack’s mother has worked hard to protect him from the reality of their situation and make his childhood as fun as is possible in a small, concrete room. It’s not the story of a young woman’s imprisonment—it’s the story of the lengths this mother will go to in order to protect Jack.

One minor quibble—the story is set in the U.S., but the writer is Irish and a few little Irish-isms slipped past the editors (the word “grand,” used to mean “great” or “terrific,” for example). It’s not a huge deal, but the few times it happened, I was briefly taken out of the story as I thought, “Wait a sec—where is this taking place again?” But that’s a tiny flaw in an otherwise well-executed book.

Pledged, by Alexandra Robbins: I picked this up after reading Robbins’ The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, which is a brilliant analysis of teenage cliques. But Pledged, an undercover look at college sororities written a few years earlier than Geeks, doesn’t have the same level of insight. I wasn’t surprised by most of Robbins’ findings, except for a short segment that addresses the differences between traditionally African-American and Latina sororities (which still focus heavily on community service and career mentoring) and traditionally Caucasian sororities (many of which have become far more focused on partying and husband-finding). If you haven’t read Geeks though, you should.

Redshirts, by John Scalzi: Star Trek meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The disposable background characters in a Trek-like world begin to develop an awareness of the fact that their primary purpose seems to be to get killed in order to kick off the crew’s latest adventure. The story starts to get a little convoluted and over-explainy near the end, but otherwise, it’s a unique premise and a fun read, full of in-jokes for sci-fi fans.

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