Guess where I am (via my reading that is) going this summer? I have been picking some theme or a destination for my summer reading the last few years. Last year it was Australia and I did a pretty good job of reading Australian Lit (and acquiring new books for future reading). I had a hard time deciding this year as there are several places I would like to spend my reading time, but in the end I opted for a 'destination' that would include books that I don't tend to reach for.
So, this summer I am going to spend time in "Other World and Alternate Realities". It is going to be a hodge podge of genres and stories. I thought a mix of science fiction, fantasy, alternate realities and time slip stories would be fun and varied. I could include some books already in my reading plans this year as well as a few that hopefully will branch out from the norm.
This is my 'pull from' pile. I won't read all of them (wishful thinking as I would love to but know my limitations) and likely I will add a few others as I go, but you get the idea here what I have in mind.
The Left hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin -- This won the Hugo and Nebula Awards. "Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction."
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling -- Last fall I watched the whole run of Harry Potter films on the big screen in the space of about a month and decided it was time to reread the books. I read the first one shortly after and it is definitely time for the second. Maybe I can get through the third book as well this summer.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle -- I have never read this and feel like it is a gaping hole in my reading life. "It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger."
Logan's Run by William F. Nolan -- I have seen the film adaptation many times and I keep reaching for this book, so maybe I can finally read it this summer. "In 2116, it is against the law to live beyond the age of twenty-one years. When the crystal flower in the palm of your hand turns from red to black, you have reached your Lastday and you must report to a Sleepshop for processing. But the human will to survive is strong—stronger than any mere law. Logan 3 is a Sandman, an enforcer who hunts down those Runners who refuse to accept Deep Sleep. The day before Logan’s palmflower shifts to black, a Runner accidentally reveals that he was racing toward a goal: Sanctuary. With this information driving him forward, Logan 3 assumes the role of the hunted and becomes a Runner."
The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley -- Few people can do a time slip story as well or as convincingly as Susanna Kearsley in my opinion. I love her books and it has been too long since I read one. "As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a 'treasure of great price.' And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry."
Blackout by Connie Willis -- This is the first of two books and sounds like great fun. "Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas—to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past."
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer -- "From Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author Andrew Sean Greer comes The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, a rapturously romantic story of a woman who finds herself transported to the “other lives” she might have lived."
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson -- I tried to read this before, but maybe the timing was just off. The repetitive nature just didn't quite click with me, but I really would like to read it--maybe I just didn't get far enough into the story? "On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Ursula's world is in turmoil, facing the unspeakable evil of the two greatest wars in history. What power and force can one woman exert over the fate of civilization -- if only she has the chance?"
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch -- This sounds kind of crazy but maybe a lot of fun, too. "Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic."
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter -- "ophi Fevvers—the toast of Europe's capitals, courted by the Prince of Wales, painted by Toulouse-Lautrec—is an aerialiste extraordinaire, star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover Fevvers's true identity: Is she part swan or all fake? Dazzled by his love for Fevvers, and desperate for the scoop of a lifetime, Walser joins the circus on its tour. The journey takes him—and the reader—on an intoxicating trip through turn-of-the-century London, St. Petersburg, and Siberia—a tour so magical that only Angela Carter could have created it."
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood -- " . . .at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining."
Not shown but my 'big' read of the summer is going to be IQ84 by Haruki Murakami -- "A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers." I'm just waiting for my copy to come in the mail.
I have quite the smorgasbord of books here, don't I? I am starting with Harry Potter for ease and quickness (and a small paperback I can easily tuck into my bookbag), but I shall very soon be expanding my reading selections. Not that I need any more books, but I can't resist asking--do you have any favorites that would fit in with my summer reading theme?