10 Great Books for Summer 2011

If you can’t believe that it’s summer again already you’re in the same boat as I am. Along with summer comes the great opportunity to catch up on some reading and this year is no different.

1) Never Let Me Go ‘” Kazuo Ishiguro

This is a science fiction novel that was made into a film in 2010, which is what initially spawned my interest. The plot, where students go to school and exist as clones solely for the purpose of donating their organs (unbeknownst to them as well as the reader until the end), is certainly intriguing and the novel has since made it onto one of Time’s 100 Best Novels lists.

2) How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe ‘” Charles Yu

I first read about this novel in Time Magazine, a science fiction book published in 2010 that supposedly has generated some rave reviews. The writing is supposed to be similar to that of Douglas Adams and it centers around the life of a time machine repairman. Sound interesting? You bet.

3) The Corrections ‘” Jonathan Franzen

Let’s face it: Jonathan Franzen is a god in the literary world. There is a several-year lapse between releases but then the man pumps out another work that sweeps awards across the nation. While Freedom has just recently come out last year, I decided that I would start with his earlier novel just to get myself into the genre of suburban angst. Basically the novel is about the Lamberts, a repressed family from the Midwest forced to make even as their problems boil to the surface. If you’re wondering why this man is such a genius there’s always the bookstore down the street.

4) Packing For Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void ‘” Mary Roach

Have you ever wondered just what it is that astronauts do to prepare for their space flights? Have you ever wondered just what can happen in space? Well in this quirky novel Roach aims to answer all of these questions.

5) A Visit From the Goon Squad ‘” Jennifer Egan

By now you’ve probably heard of this work'”part Powerpoint, part interview, part anthology of short stories, Egan has managed to stay ahead of the crowd in terms of creativity. It follows a characters Pulp Fiction-style as they all try to find their way in the music business. This novel has won the Pulitzer Prize, Jennifer Egan has made it onto Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People, and it is simple a must for the summer.

6) The Millennium Trilogy ‘” Stieg Larson

If you haven’t read any of these books like me, you might want to consider heading to the library to grab a paperback. Larson deposited the manuscripts for the first three novels and then died tragically. Originally written in Swedish, the novels center around powerful women who go out of their way to combat violence and uncover the truth. It has also spawned the popular Lisbeth Salander character as well as an American film version to come soon.

7) Einstein’s Dreams ‘” Alan Lightman

Published in 1992, this pocket-sized novel was an international bestseller by a man who went to school at Princeton at teaches at MIT. It tells a fictional account of how Albert Einstein conceives of his famous Theory of Relativity through a series of dreams. Needless to say, this book should be an interesting read.

8) Cold Mountain ‘” Charles Frazier

Published in 1997, Cold Mountain is a fictional account of the Civil War from the Southern perspective. It tells the story of Inman’s journey home to his longtime love, Ada, while also depicting social history at the time.

9) A Stephen King Book

Stephen King is as prolific as you can get as a writer. Each year he pumps out another book or so and in my opinion any book of his is good enough to read over the summer.

10) Harry Potter ‘”J. K. Rowling

Lastly, in honor of the final Harry Potter film to hit theaters in 2011, I might take it upon myself to re-read the entire series. Characters and plot have grown sketchy and it would be fun to be able to remember every little aspect by the time the movie rolls around.