Ordering books for the LMC forces me to read a lot of book reviews, and it also makes me think about all the wonderful books I’ve read, and all the books I still have on my “to read” list. I’ve placed two book orders this summer, adding over 150 titles to our collection, so obviously, I’ve got books on the brain. Summer is supposed to be a time for reading (despite what the kids may think) and I would like to share with everyone my list of summer reads of (relatively) new books that look interesting. Granted this is a form of judging a book by its cover, but it goes a little deeper than that. Trust me; I’m a librarian. (Note: The books’ synopses are lifted straight from the Barnes and Noble site.)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone’s heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who’ve lost loved ones before.
Letters to a Young Mathematician by Ian Stewart
During his illustrious career, mathematician Ian Stewart has written 140 advanced research papers and six infinitely more interesting books on his specialty, including the justly popular Flatterland. In Letters to a Young Mathematician, he invites us into his mind and his vocation. He explains what mathematicians do and why it is worth doing; discusses the role of beauty in mathematical thinking; talks about the relationship between logic and proof; and speculates about the future of the science of numbers
The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
It is 1937, and Amabelle, orphaned at the age of eight when her parents drowned, is a faithful maidservant of many years to the young Dominican wife of an army colonel. Amabelle’s lover, Sebastian Onius, is a field hand, an itinerant sugarcane cutter. They are Haitians, useful to the Dominicans but haunted by the knowledge that they are not entirely welcome. Rumors say that in other towns, Haitians are being persecuted, even killed. But there are always rumors.
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornsby
Nick Hornby’s predictably unpredictable fourth novel invites us to the roof of Topper’s House, a traditional London suicide haunt. A Long Way Down is delivered through the distinctive voices of four would-be plungers.
Expanding on themes first raised in his tour de force, Running Money, Andy Kessler unpacks the entire history of Silicone Valley and Wall Street, from the Industrial Revolution to computers, communications, money, gold and stock markets. These stories cut (by an unscrupulous editor) from the original manuscript were intended as a primer on the ways in which new technologies develop from unprofitable curiosities to essential investments. Indeed, How We Got Here is the book Kessler wishes someone had handed him on his first day as a freshman engineering student at Cornell or on the day he started on Wall Street. This book connects the dots through history to how we got to where we are today
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
This brief (112-page) book by philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris directly challenges the religious certainties of the Christian Right. Citing polls and doctrines, the author of The End of Faith vigorously attacks literalist dogmas that he believes are a direct threat to our future. An uncompromising indictment of fundamentalism.
Gidgets and Women Warriors: Perceptions of Women in the 1950s and 1960s by Catherine Gourley
This five-volume series explores questions of how the popular media of the past portrayed women and whether the images were accurate or misleading. The result is a colorful, visually appealing series with a broad but unique approach to women’s history. Although the series addresses common topics like historical events, social issues, and popular culture, it is through the lens of the era’s images-pictures, films, advertisements, and cartoons. The series’ most obvious weakness is the scarcity of racial diversity, but it deserves a place in most libraries that serve teens.
I’ve placed these books on the orders, so if you don’t get around to them this summer, perhaps you can pick up a fresh read in September. Maybe next time I’ll share my list of Books I Wish I’d Read, But Don’t Plan On Reading. It’s a good list, full of surprises some of my English teachers and professors would find interesting. Thank you for reading and stopping by. Have a great rest of the week.
Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.