Summer Reading — Fiction

August 23, 2010 | 1 Comment

School started today and I’m ready for rhythm to return. Between a few trips and a handful of large web projects, it’s been hard to find rhythm. I’ve still been able to read some, but I haven’t spent time blogging about it. So to celebrate the end of summer, here’s a look back at my fiction reading this summer. I’ll follow up this week, or month, with my non-fiction reading.

The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkienn
A classic that was worth reading a second time. I remembered that this book was geared a little more toward children than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I wanted to see if my daughter, who loves the Narnia books, would enjoy this. I don’t think she would yet.

The Time Travelers Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Often called one of the best books of the last decade, so I wanted to give it a shot. The storyline is interesting, and there is some depth to the characters, but I had already seen the movie. I think this is one of those instances where the book isn’t as good because the movie has already removed the intrigue of the unfolding plot.

Out of the Silent Planet, by CS Lewis
Struggled with this one as a kid and never finished it. Struggled with it as a grown-up too, but at least I can say I finished it. Grapples with some interesting philosophies, as you’d expect from Lewis, but I didn’t care much about the characters.

The Passage, by Justin Cronin
I heard a lot of buzz about this when it was released this spring, so I made plans to read it. I avoided knowing anything about it so I could enjoy it more. If I had know it was going to be about, um, vampires, I probably wouldn’t have read it. And I would have missed out, because I was engaged throughout. It’s one of those fiction books that stays with you between reading times, as you think about what might happen next.

The Imperfectionists, by Neil Rachman
I’m halfway through, but this is great. It is a series of short stories, each featuring a different character who works for the same newspaper. Reading this affirms two things to me: 1) character development matters to me more than anything when it comes to fiction, and 2) I need to read more short stories.

And a few I started, but didn’t finish:
Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
I can enjoy SciFi and Fantasy books when I care about the characters. When I don’t, I struggle to stick with them. I know this one is well regarded, but I think I only made it a third of the way through. Stephenson unrolls a thoughtful future based on where we are now, but I didn’t care about the people who were living in it.

Perelandra, by CS Lewis
I was told that this one unpacks more ponderings than the first in the Space Trilogy, but again, I was detached from the central characters and decided to move on to something else.

  • I had the same reaction to The Passage and Snow Crash. I tried Snow Crash about 10 years ago and got about 2/3 of the way through before abandoning it. I read his most recent book, Anathem, last year and liked it a lot. It’s very different from Snow Crash.

    Also, there should be at least two sequels to The Passage, with the first one coming in the next year or two. That should be a lot of fun.