Five More Books That Can Make Your Summer Better
Upon seeing how popular "Five Books That Can Make Your Summer Better" has become, I have returned with five more stellar recommendations for your summer reading list. Enjoy!
The Lost World (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also made forays into the realm of science fiction and brought us another memorable literary character--Professor George Challenger. Professor Challenger has returned from a trip to South America with documents outlining the existence of prehistoric animals deep in the unexplored regions of the South American jungle, but his educated English colleagues greet his every statement with undisguised skepticism. Outraged at the treatment he's received, he determines to form an expedition back to the jungle to prove the verity of his information. Accompanied by the adventurous Lord John Roxton, unconvinced Professor Summerlee, and high-spirited journalist Ned Malone, who narrates the story, Professor Challenger sets out to engrave his name in history.
The Lost World is an exciting glimpse into a world that seems too fantastic to be real. This quality makes it an exciting read, and the characters are memorable in their own way. And if you enjoy The Lost World, you might want to read Professor Challenger's other two adventures, The Poison Belt and The Land of Mist.
Watership Down (Richard Adams)
Of the books I have read that have featured animals as the main characters, none has imprinted itself on my memory to the extent Watership Down has. Fiver, a young rabbit gifted with second sight, foresees the destruction of his home warren to make way for a human housing development, and he and his brother Hazel, one of the few rabbits that believes Fiver's prophecy, attempt to convince the Chief Rabbit to move the warren. When the Chief Rabbit ignores their warning, Hazel and Fiver gather their friends and set off in search of a new warren, one where people can never bother them.
Watership Down is remarkable in that Richard Adams created a whole culture for these rabbits. They have their own vocabulary, customs, stories, and traditions, and their individual personalities enrich the enthralling tale that Adams weaves. Although the narrative can get a bit unwieldy in areas, the story itself is well worth a read.
The Skin Map (Stephen R. Lawhead)
From the renowned author of historical fiction and fantasy novels comes the first installment in the Bright Empires series. Kit Livingstone, the protagonist, is only trying to get to his girlfriend's apartment to help her go curtain shopping but somehow winds up on the other side of London. There he meets a strange old man who claims to be his great-grandfather, and he needs Kit's help to recover an artifact known as the Skin Map, a map tattooed on human skin that holds the key to the universe. Incredulous, Kit initially refuses to help, but when he inadvertently involves his girlfriend Mina in this venture, he's willing to do whatever it takes to keep her safe.
The Skin Map is an exciting time travel novel that focuses on the adventures of three individuals: Kit, his girlfriend Mina, and Arthur Flinders-Petrie, the man who tattooed the map of the universe on his skin. Although several centuries separate them, all three have a common foe--Lord Burleigh, who will stop at nothing to unlock the secret of the Skin Map. Mysterious, enticing, and fun, The Skin Map will leave you demanding more--which, incidentally, is on the way. The Bone House, the second installment in Bright Empires, is scheduled for release in September 2011.
And Then There Were None (AKA Ten Little Indians, Agatha Christie)
For her clever detectives and intriguing plots, Agatha Christie has earned the title of "Queen of Crime". None of her mysteries demonstrate how deserving she is as much as And Then There Were None (also published as Ten Little Indians). In this intriguing tale, nine strangers are summoned to the shadowy Indian Island, little suspecting the danger that will soon plague their lives. Each individual is accused of murder, and someone is out to execute a chilling form of justice. One by one the guests meet untimely ends, and every death matches the pattern of a peculiar nursery rhyme. Can anyone escape Indian Island alive? Or is everyone doomed for an unspeakable demise?
And Then There Were None truly is a remarkable mystery novel. You'll want to stay up all night to finish the book, to find out who was the murderer. Fast-paced and hair-raising, this is one of those definite summer must-reads.
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
One of the most iconic monsters of literary history sprang from the imagination of nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley as part of a writing challenge suggested by famed poet Lord Byron. In Frankenstein she relates the tragedy of Victor Frankenstein, a talented young scientist who seeks to unlock the mystery of life by creating life himself. His plan consumes every hour of his time, and he ignores his family, friends, and other studies in his quest to create artificial life. Upon achieving his goal, Victor realizes how wrong he was to attempt such a feat and flees from his creation as soon as he can. But the creature will not be gotten rid of so easily, and Victor finds his experiment will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Frankenstein is notable for the characterizations of both Victor and his creature. Far from the plodding, almost speechless monster portrayed in movies, the creature is intelligent and learns quickly, and he uses that intelligence to reason that Victor has a certain responsibility for him. This is a thought-provoking and exciting book I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone.