This will come as no surprise to anyone that I loved to read as a kid, and the best time to read was summer vacation. I played outside with friends plenty, but some of my favorite moments were spent lying on the couch, stretched out on my bed, or on a lounge chair outside, taking a break with my favorite characters. I spent many a lazy summer with Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. The summer before my seventh grade year I read 1001 Arabian Nights. The next summer I spent with Douglas Adams and Joyce Ballou Gregorian’s excellent fantasy trilogy, now long out of print. In high school I discovered romance novels, David Eddings, Stephen King, and so many more. The joy was in the discovery of new authors, new stories, new worlds.
Summer has come around again, and now that I’m done teaching for the semester, I can’t wait to get reading! This year my list is full of books that have been collecting beside my bed for months. Here’s a list of the top five I’m most eager to open and explore:
1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth. The second novel in a dystopian trilogy, Roth’s future Chicago is divided into sectors defined by values. It seemed like an odd premise when I first picked up Divergent last year, but the first novel in this series was well written and thoroughly engaging. It rivals Hunger Games, and it some ways, is even better.
3. The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin. I’ve been looking forward to reading this, the third book in Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy, since I picked it up at World Fantasy last November. Her unique fantasies and worlds are inspiring, her characters rich and engaging, the writing beautiful.
If none of these appeal, I’d also highly recommend the fantasies of some of our summer guests, who are also on the list of my favorite authors:
June 25th: The Psalms of Isaak series by Ken Scholes is high on my list of all-time favorite fantasy series. Start with Lamentation, read Canticle and Antiphon, then wait on pins and needles for Requiem with the rest of us.
July 23rd: Dorothy Hearst’s Wolf Chronicles are a fantastic summer read for paranormal fans and animal lovers alike. Who doesn’t love wolves?
July 30th: Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series is a fantastic blend of fantasy and romance, with strong female characters and phenomenal worldbuilding.
August 13th: Jim C. Hines, our final summer guest, re-envisioned storybook princesses as kick-ass heroines long before Once Upon a Time and Snow White and the Huntsman. His damaged but awesome Sleeping Beauty is probably my favorite.
Now a question for all of you, gentle readers: what are you reading this summer? Sound off!
by Kim Vandervort
by Kim Vandervort