My Summer Reading List

This summer doesn’t even feel like summer. It feels like March. Or like some part of the Matrix. But I’ve honestly had so much time to read since the stay-at-home order happened that I’ve decided to share the books I’ve been able to finish so far. Most of these are books on my family bookcase because the library closed (a very unfortunate dilemma).

Watership Down

by Richard Adams

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I remember watching the 1978 animated movie when I was in high school. Totally bootlegged, totally in class when I should have been paying attention. I was confused by how many characters there were and they’re all rabbits so they all looked the same except Fiver and the villian General Woundwort. When I watched it, I was kinda put off by how bloody it was. Especially for a story about talking rabbits.

But reading the book was so much better. Everything made much more sense. I actually knew the difference between the characters. And to be honest, the details in the book are so much more entertaining. The fight scenes are exciting (although still pretty graphic) and the descriptions of the scenery are absolutely stunning.

We need daylight …. but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse’s mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that event the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted.

Chapter 22. The Story of El-ahrairah

Just that paragraph alone is gorgeous but the ways Richard Adams creates the flow of the story makes it a literary masterpiece. It was with that in mind that I highly recommend this book. There’s some scenes with blood and gore so I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone under 12 (unless they’re allowed to read that sort of thing, I’m not gonna tell you how to parent). But it’s exciting, suspenseful, and beautiful and I definitely finished it in about a week.

Catcher In the Rye

by J.D. Salinger

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

This one was interesting. It kind of made my brain hurt trying to figure out where the story was going or even what the plot was. Holden Caulfield is an interesting character. On one hand, he’s a jerk to some of the people around him, he smokes a lot, and is downright rather judgmental . On the other hand, his thoughts are intricate and he’s sad and lonely and just wants a friend to be there for him.

The middle of the book is actually really boring. It drags on with him going to a club in a hotel, smoking an entire pack of cigarettes, and going to a bar among other things. All of this is happening with the same context that he’s lonely. So I suppose he’s doing whatever he can to get rid of that loneliness.

The part in the book where he mentions the title of the book “Catcher in the Rye” is truly where the book started making sense to me. I won’t spoil it. I’d recommend this book solely on the fact that it’s a classic. And for the end of the book. It was pretty good. There is a lot of bad language so I also wouldn’t suggest this one for kids. Unless your kids cuss which in that case you can let them read it ? I don’t know man, I can’t tell you how to parent.

The Shack

by William P. Young

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This rating is not even enough to fully stress how much I adored this book. It questioned and challenged just about everything I’ve ever learned about modern Christianity. When I read this book, I could feel the problems of my way of thinking coming to the surface. Yes, this is a fictional work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t teach you. Nothing I say can completely describe how grateful I am for this book.

In the book, Mack loses his daughter to a serial killer and the place she’s murdered is a shack up in the mountains. Mack mysteriously receives an invitation to visit the Shack and when he does, he is transformed inside and out to see what God sees towards everyone from his little girl to the person who killed her to himself. This book focuses so hard on forgiveness that it will definitely make you uncomfortable at times but the lessons it teaches are worth it.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person’s throat

p. 272 of The Shack

That quote is probably my favorite. But it really tackles issues like judgement. If you’re religious, I would definitely recommend you read it. It gave me a new point of view despite being a work of fiction. No other book gave me a good example of what the Holy Trinity represents but this book broke down my assumptions and rebuilt my image of God as the loving Father. There’s some sensitive content and it is REALLY hard to read at times so keep your tissues close by. But other than that it’s a beautiful read.

The Chronicles of Narnia

by CS Lewis

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I feel bad for not giving it a full 5 stars. Reason being that the first book in the series was not my favorite. Still isn’t. Probably never will be. I read the entire series over quarantine and it was amazing. I haven’t read the books since I was like 10 years old so an in-depth rereading of it was definitely required. I forgot how good The Last Battle was. Had me crying in the club or something, trying to read the last few chapters. Narnia is definitely a must-read. I can’t go into detail because there’s too much to discuss in one small paragraph of a blog post. You’ll just have to read it yourself.

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Thanks for reading my post. I’d like to take this last paragraph to remind you to support your local library. They’re an important part of our communities and something simple like donating your gently used books and getting a library card would greatly be appreciated. I grew up in the library and it’s where I found my love for learning. It’s important we keep those free resources alive. Libraries are some of the few places where there’s no pressure to buy anything and we’re allowed to educate ourselves for free. Let’s help keep libraries open and free.

You can donate to the American Library Association at https://ec.ala.org/donate

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