Jul 012011
 

What do you think of when you think of a summer reading list? Several places online put up summer reading lists; I’ve recently seen a major online retailer run a “best of the year so far” in different genres.

Help me build a comprehensive reading list that has something for everyone. I’ll start with my list and name places where I’d particularly like to learn more. I’d love for you to jump in.

Current books I’m reading or that are on my list:
1. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. This is Fforde’s first foray into YA, and it’s a strong one. FForde’s first novel, The Eyre Affair, can best be described as speculative mystery. One does not so much read a Fforde novel as experience one, and I strongly suggest his work – it’s a lot of fun! This is not so much an extract as some special features and extra information… but you will get some insight into all things Fforde, I believe.
2. Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks. Banks is a Scottish writer who writes as Iain Banks and Iain M. Banks. The novels of IMB are sf novels. Surface Detail is part of the series of Culture novels; these books are vast, sprawling, alien, and sparkling with amazing intelligence. Banks may be an acquired taste for some readers, but the AIs and the sentient ships alone make the Culture books worth it. That’s just the start. Read chapter 1 here.
3. The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. (Wow.) I just finished this yesterday, and I want to re-read it already. This book is the second in a series that begins with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It might be helpful to read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms first if you are a stickler for continuity, but The Broken Kingdoms does stand alone. The main character, Oree, is blind in the conventional sense. Oree does, however, see things that you and I wouldn’t believe; she sees magic. Her ability to see magic and her abilities to speak directly to some very powerful people take her on an incredible journey. Read chapters 1, 2, and 3 here.
4. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. I read Okorafor’s Who Fears Death not long after it came out last year, and it is an incredibly powerful story. I have jumped ever since at any fiction I can get my hands on by her. Akata Witch is classified as YA; as with Fforde’s book, I don’t think that should stop you for a minute. Okorafor explores the story of Sunny, a twelve year old who was born in America, has returned to Nigeria with her family, and is limited in a lot of the things that she would love to do because she is albino and cannot be in the sun as much as she would like to be. School is a fairly harrowing ordeal for her, as it is for a lot of twelve year olds – and then one day, everything changes. It sounds like a cheesy tagline, but “read on to find the mystery and the magic” is the literal truth. Incredible stuff. Read the prologue and the first chapter here.
5. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. I read an excerpt from this; the link either came from Neil Gaiman’s Twitter account or his blog. Since I am a serious Gaiman fangirl, I take recommendations he makes seriously. I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s high on my list. Check out the first 17 pages for yourself and see what you think.

Bonus: Have any of you read How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu? This is one I haven’t been able to get my hands on yet – am looking forward to reading it when I do get it. I’ve heard great things.

What’s on your reading list for the next couple of months? I’d like to hear your suggestions. I’m just getting in to graphic novels, so I’d love particular suggestions there. Are there particular types of books you’d like to see me review? Let me know in the comments!

About Ashley Crump

Ashley and her minders, two very strict black cats, make their home on the bayou. One fine day, Ashley finally realized she did not want to write the Great American Novel -- she wanted to understand how writing worked. She set about doing this, and you are seeing her results. It's a long-term project. Enjoy! [The cats do her proofreading...]

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