Summer Reading List
Here are five books to add to your summer reading list. Yes, I know they are mostly English and mostly classic, but I hope to add more hubs with wider literary expansions later on.
Giant by Edna Ferber
Giant is one of my favorite books. Those familiar with the 1956 movie (starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean) will know that the setting is the dry and dusty and unforgivably arrogant Texas, with its cattlemen and its oil tycoons. This is the story of a woman from Virginia who leaves everything she has ever known to move to Texas with her unfamiliar husband, who owns a cattle ranch. Leslie and Bick both have strong impetuous personalities, and they, combined with the large and beautiful landscape and the instability of the ever-changing times, make for a drama that at its heart is all-American. Ferber captures our hearts with fast-paced yet enchanting language. Giant tells the story of love that endures through hardship and pain, riches and prosperity.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest is a play that finds the irony hidden in late-19th-century social mores using a wit that only the English can use. The plot follows two couples, Gwenolen and Jack, and Cecily and Algernon, through a maze of real names, false identities and ridiculous ideals. The ridiculousness is, in fact, what makes the characters’ lines so funny. This a humorous read all the way through. It’s a lot of fun reading it aloud with a few friends. I recommend reading the four-act version of this play.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
And Then There Were None (which has also been published as Ten Little Indians) is a thrilling murder mystery novel. In true Christie form, this book deals with the psychological pathways of the victims as well as those of the murderer. Ten people find themselves trapped on a small island off the coast of England. They are unable to escape as each one is killed off by someone unknown. The someone unknown is one of the ten. A barren island, stormy seas, and guilty consciences create a mysterious atmosphere that delights the reader. This is an easy-to-read book worth reading if you want a good scare.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit (a prequel to The Lord of the Rings) is indeed a fantasy novel, and therefore might be an attractive read only to certain people. Be that as it may be, this book has stood the test of time and is truly an English classic. In a fictional and imaginative world called Middle-earth, Bilbo the hobbit finds himself unexpectedly, and practically unwillingly, on a quest with a group of dwarves to rescue a mountain-full of treasure from a fire-breathing dragon. Bilbo is pulled out of his comfort zone only to find himself up to the challenge of adventure. This tale is filled with elves and trolls and all manner of fantastic creatures. Those who can appreciate an escape from the reality in our own world, will appreciate this book.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is, to many, the epitome of Jane Austen’s works. The love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy has captivated many a girl, but there is more to the story than the story itself. We learn that “first impressions” (as the novel was first titled) are often very wrong and that the way we must view others should be based on their character. Although the characters have flaws, those who learn to overcome those flaws are the happy ones in the end. This book is not only for the female mind, but it is suitable for the male as well, as it is a literary study of the hearts and actions of individuals.
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