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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Non-required summer reading list

    While you may cringe admitting it aloud, there can be such a thing as too much TV; too much videogaming; too much time spent growing as a spud between the couch cushions. “”Impossible!”” you scoff now. “”Never!”” But just wait as May bleeds into June and then the stickiness and utter drudgery of August settles in. Prepare yourself now, and your brain will thank you later. Three books: a classic, one published within the past year, and one to keep to keep your eye on.

    The Classic

    “”All the Pretty Horses”” by Cormac McCarthy, published 1992

    This should be fun — you can have a McCarthy marathon. “”All the Pretty Horses,”” “”No Country for Old Men”” and “”The Road”” have all been made into feature films so you can read the books and check out the movies later. Be that person who’s done both — I guarantee you will like the feeling.

    Besides, McCarthy is as badass as they come. He received many a prestigious grant, including the MacArthur Fellowship, aka “”the genius grant.”” His 2006 novel, “”The Road,”” received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

    So why “”All the Pretty Horses,”” then? Because this little number was responsible for making McCarthy, McCarthy. It’s a New York Times bestseller, winner of the National Book Award for fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

    Recently

    “”Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionaire: 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness and the Meaning of Life””edited by Graydon Carter, published 2009

    Luminaries — also known as Jane Fonda, Allen Ginsberg, Giorgio Armani, etc. A little background information: Marcel Proust, considered one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century made famous the Proust Questionnaire — namely, a series of intimate questions designed to poke and prod into the deepest, darkest, most cavernous spaces of a person’s character to reveal what makes them tick.

    There’s 101 of them! And if the idea of becoming privy to the innermost thoughts of Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the least bit enthralling, take heart that it’s a light 216 pages filled with vibrant illustrations, courtesy of Robert Risko.

    On the Horizon

    “”Promise Me”” by Nancy G. Brinker, to be published Sept. 14

    A hybrid tearjerker and spirit-lifter, “”Promise Me”” is an autobiography detailing Brinker’s close relationship with her sister, Suzy, before and after her breast cancer diagnosis. It makes real the palpable quiet and ignorance that surrounded the disease in the social and medical communities at large when Suzy was diagnosed, adding to the heartbreak surrounding her shocking death at 36.

    — Kim Kotel

    The Classic

    “”The Poisonwood Bible”” by Barbara Kingsolver, published 1999

    This modern classic is the devastating story of a Southern missionary family’s life in the heart of the Congo.

    The novel is narrated from the perspective of the family’s four daughters and mother. The Congo itself is a character here, presenting the family with both the romanticized adventure of a foreign land and the danger of a wild, unstable, often violent nation.

    “”The Poisonwood Bible”” is an unabashed criticism of self-centered American culture as well as the ability of organized religion to taint, rather than save, the soul.

    Recently

    “”Juliet, Naked”” by Nick Hornby, published 2009

    While it’s no “”High Fidelity,”” this novel touches on many of Hornby’s favorite themes: obsession meeting ennui and the weird dynamics of young love growing stale in adulthood.

    Hornby’s postmodern protagonists are appropriately befuddled by their emotions and at turns blasé and over-passionate. While the novel isn’t his best, it’s a fun, rewarding read, perfect for a hot Tucson summer.

    On the Horizon

    “”The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”” by Stieg Larsson, to be published May 25

    While you wait with bated breath for the release of the eighth Harry Potter book — I know, right? — pick up the latest installment in another popular series. The late Stieg Larsson’s “”The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,”” the last of the “”Millennium”” series, hits shelves later this month. For fans of truly excellent crime fiction, this will be a must-read.

    Before you read it, check out the film based on the first book of the series, “”The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,”” now playing at The Loft Cinema.

    —Heather Price-Wright

    The Classic

    “”Ender’s Game”” by Orson Scott Card, published 1985

    In the not-too-distant future, Ender Wiggin is the third child in a family of geniuses, chosen to attend Battle School far in space. With an alien fleet posing a threat to human existence, an international fleet trains young prodigies in the art of annihilation. Set up for failure and ostracized due to his brilliance, Ender must survive the trials of the school and become the greatest commander Earth has ever seen.

    “”Ender’s Game”” is not just for the acne-riddled teenager or Trekkie. It doesn’t alienate — no pun intended — the average audience that doesn’t regularly peruse the science fiction section. Once you fall in love, there are a slew of sequels and parallel series to dive into as well.

    Recently

    “”Under the Dome”” by Stephen King, published 2009

    It was an average October day in Chester’s Mill, a small town in Maine. Then suddenly it wasn’t. When a semi-permeable barrier separates the town from the rest of the nation, total mayhem rocks Chester’s Mill. Opposing factions spring up to take control of the thousand or so citizens, with manipulation and fear the currency of choice. The result is a desperate race to bring down the dome before the people tear each other apart.

    Mix a detective story with a western and throw in some extraterrestrial flavoring and you essentially have the addictive book that is “”Under the Dome.””

    The Future

    “”Beachcombers: A Novel”” by Nancy Thayer, to be published June 22

    Emma Fox is not doing too well. She just experienced a sudden breakup with her fiance, on top of the recent loss of her lucrative job as a stockbroker. Needless to say, life is pretty damn terrible. When her two sisters, Abbie and Lily, come to visit her in Nantucket after a two-year absence, they don’t exactly get the rest and relaxation they need. Each of the Fox women encounter some drama in various forms: a steamy married man, the search for a new definition of success, their father finding a new love and the collective acceptance of their mother’s death.

    Overall, it should be a fairly decent guilty pleasure from this New York Times bestselling author. Not too intellectually stimulating, “”Beachcombers”” looks to be poignant enough to merit some worth. Picture the scene: You’re sitting by the pool, margarita in hand, diving into the lives of these three sisters.

    — Kathleen Roosa

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