Memorial Day is upon us. Many of you, no doubt, are already working on your second or third sunburn. Hopefully we’ll all have a little more time to read at the beach or beside the pool or, if you’re like the guy on the right, on your pontoon boat.

For Audience Participation Friday, let’s help one another build our summer reading lists. What book or two (or three) would you insist that a friend read this summer? This is largely a selfish request; I haven’t thought much about my summer reading and am looking for suggestions.

There is one book that I especially want to read this summer. It is about Quanah Parker, the last and greatest Comanche chief, and his white mother, Cynthia Ann Parker. The book has the  unwieldy title of Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in History. I heard the author, S.C. Gwynne, on the radio the other day, and it’s a fascinating story. Cynthia Ann was kidnapped by the Comanches when she was a young girl. When she got older, she married a chief, the father of Quanah. The whites kidnapped her back when Quanah was about nine; she never got used to living among white people and pined away for the tribe. Empire of the Summer Sun is as much history as biography, detailing, as its subtitle suggests, the rise and fall of a warlike people. According to the author, the Comanches were the reason that whites settled the West Coast was settled before they settled the middle of America: settling California wasn’t the hard part; the hard part was getting through the Great Plains without getting killed by Comanches.

So, there’s my recommendation (for a book I haven’t read). What are yours?

Editor’s Note: I have heard from 2 or 3 of you saying that you’ve had trouble with the comments since I’ve moved over to Disqus. One thing that worries me is that if a person who is having bad trouble with the comments might not be able to leave a comment describing the trouble. Indeed, I think there has been a decline in comments since the move to Disqus (though, I realize, there are many variables that affect these things, not the least of which is Aaron R. getting a steady job). If you’ve been having trouble with the comments, would you please take a minute and write me a note using the “Contact Me” form on the right? Thanks.


  • Anonymous
    12:03 AM, 27 May 2011

    I assume you’ve probably read Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson.  (If you haven’t, you need to.  This imperative applies to anyone who is literate.)  This probably stands as the novel I have loved most in the last decade.  It’s full of grace, truth, pain, and beauty.  I haven’t yet read Home, the companion novel that re-tells the same story in a different voice, so that’s on my to-read list.  Part of me is nervous about Home, since the narrative voice of Gilead was one of the things I loved best about the novel. If you want some rootin’ tootin’ robot fun, there’s always Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, a collection of short stories that is part mystery, part hard Sci-Fi, and 100% Asimov.  I also recommend his original Foundation trilogy to Sci-Fi enthusiasts.  It’s a sweeping collection of short stories that show a great deal of insight and optimism.  It can also be quite instructive if you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to replace science with religion (which it seems Asimov tries to do in this trilogy).  I’m not sure what’s on my summer reading list, but I suspect a lot of Annie Dillard in preparation for Hutchmoot…

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:28 AM, 27 May 2011

      Gilead–yes. Probably my favorite novel. You have nothing to fear from Home. If Gilead weren’t already my favorite, Home would have had a good shot at the title. I have found that people who read Home first like Home better, and people who read Gilead first like Gilead better. You definitely have a different view of John Ames depending on which book you read first. 
      Thanks for the reminder re: Asimov. I might have to read some this summer. I don’t think of myself as being a sci-fi fan, but I don’t know why not. I just haven’t read very much of it.

      • JJ M.
        2:22 PM, 27 May 2011

        I started Gilead last summer. I need to try and finish it. It was very sweet but at the time I was in the mood for something a little more action oriented.

  • Dan Kulp
    12:52 AM, 27 May 2011

    I recently finished up “I’m Proud of You” by Tim Madigan.  I picked up from a Rabbitroom recommendation (Jason Gray, I think) and finally got to it.  It’s a very touching tale especially on aspects as a brother, father, son, and friend.  Brokeness and being rebuilt.  Fred Rogers is a great man.
    Up next on my “to be listened list” is George Macdonald – David Elginbrod followed by Robert Falconer.

    Next on to be read is The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic

    • Jonathan Rogers
      1:13 PM, 27 May 2011

      Good one, Dan. I didn’t appreciate Mr. Rogers until after he was gone and I started reading his obituaries. A man so gentle is easily mocked, and I’m sorry to say I listened to the mockers. Mount Majestic is on my list too.

      • livingoakheart
        1:38 PM, 28 May 2011

        He truly was a great man. Did you know that he responded to every letter he got personally? I was one of the children who received one.

    • Patrick J. Moore
      1:33 PM, 27 May 2011

      The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic is a wonderful story. My daughter says it’s her all time favorite so far (she’s only 8 but she has read a lot of books).

  • JJ M.
    2:21 PM, 27 May 2011

    I’ve been sharing my list all over the place. Glad to add it here. 🙂

    I’ll be starting Andrew Peterson’s The Monster in the Hollows at the beach in just over a week. It’ll probably be the first book I read down there.

    I’ve been reading through Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I’ll be
    starting on book 3 (The Waste Lands) at the beach too. It’s
    been a great series so far, although the language in book 2 was a little
    annoying at times.

    I read for the first time this year the 4 Sherlock Holmes novels. I had never seen or read anything Sherlock until this year and I’m so glad I finally discovered him (thanks to my wife and the awesome new BBC series). They were so great I plan to bring the collection I have of all the short stories (all four collections in one book). That’s going to be great beach/summer reading and I can’t recommend them enough if you’ve never read them. And the Kindle versions are all free on Amazon. 🙂

    Another book I read last month that I would highly recommend is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Really great, great book.

    I concur with The Rise and Fall of Mt. Majestic. I was blessed to win a copy from Jennifer Trafton and tore through it in a few days. Loved it.

    And of course I’m still trying to get people to read A.S. “Pete” Peterson’s fantastic Fin Button series, The Fiddler’s Gun and Fiddler’s Green. If you take nothing else from my list, go grab those books right now and read them immediately.

    • Sally Apokedak
      2:32 PM, 27 May 2011

      Andrew’s third Wingfeather book is out? Who knew? 

      • JJ M.
        2:36 PM, 27 May 2011

        I think it officially hit Amazon this week, but pre-ordering on the Rabbit Room store had them shipping out the week of the 10th. It’s been hard not diving right into it. Seeing it on my dresser for the last 2 weeks has been tough. 🙂

      • Jess
        2:31 AM, 28 May 2011

         Dang, and I was here thinking everyone knew. I wish that were the case.  Hannah’s just started reading it aloud to us, but we are delayed due to head colds (sniffle).

  • Leanne
    2:23 PM, 27 May 2011

    I am planning to read Raven’s Ladder by Jeffrey Overstreet next. It’s the third book in his series starting with Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight. I really liked the first two.
    My 12 year old has an extensive book list planned for me as well. She’s a voracious reader and is constantly saying, “Mom, you’ve got to read this book.” Some of her recommendations I like. Some – blah. But when she gets it in her mind that she wants me to read something, she doesn’t tell me all about the book for fear of spoiling it for me, for which I’m grateful. She’s getting better but hasn’t quite mastered the art of summarizing. 🙂

    By the way, that guy in the picture seriously looks like one of my uncles. I strongly suspect that I am descended from feechiefolk in the Alabama region where my folks came from.

    • Jonathan Rogers
      2:42 PM, 27 May 2011

      Leanne, I actually do think that guy’s from Alabama. Your Uncle Rooster, maybe?

  • JJ M.
    2:23 PM, 27 May 2011

    I almost forgot, I just started The Chosen by Chaim Potok. It’s brilliantly written. It’s my wife’s favorite novel and I suspect it will be one of my favorites.

    • Loren Warnemuende
      11:50 PM, 28 May 2011

      Sherlock Holmes and The Chosen in one summer–you can’t go wrong!

    • Fellow Traveler
      8:49 PM, 30 May 2011

      I thought about suggesting that too. By a margin Potok’s best.

  • Sally Apokedak
    2:26 PM, 27 May 2011

    Well, my recommendations have to be for children’s books, since that is almost all I read. So I would suggest, of course, The Bark of the Bog Owl, and The Charlatan’s Boy, my two favorite Jonathan Rogers books. But since most of you have read those, I’d say you should try The Bartimaus Triology by Jonathan Stroud, Airman by Eoin Colfer, Leepike Ridge, by Nathan Wilson, The Star of Kazan and The Dragonfly Pool, by Eva Ibbotson, and The Goose Girl and River Secrets, by Shannon Hale.
    Take your pick. All are excellent. 

    I’ve read Gilead already, alas, I cannot look forward to that delight this summer. But where are you all buying Mount Majestic? 

    Your comments dropped off drastically when you put in disqus. I vote for ditching disqus and bringing back the smilies. I am pretty sure Patrick and I are the only the smiley lovers that have stuck with you through this sad period in your blog history. 

    • JJ M.
      2:27 PM, 27 May 2011

      Leepike Ridge was great. So is Wilson’s 100 Cupboards series.

      • Sally Apokedak
        2:41 PM, 27 May 2011

        100 Cupboards was very good. Book two had a couple glitches, I thought, but the trilogy as whole was wonderful. 
        The action in Gilead never does pick up. 🙂 

        I also loved all of Sherlock’s stories, though I haven’t read them in about forty years. 

        I couldn’t get through the Graveyard Book. I have never yet found a Gaiman character I can connect with and root for. And it’s too bad, because I think he’s a very good writer. 

        • Drew
          2:53 PM, 27 May 2011

          I agree with you about Gaiman, even if he is a local. (Shh . . . that’s supposed to be a secret.) I tried The Graveyard Book, and barely made it through the first chapter before giving up. Will probably try again, but . . . meh, so many books, so little time.

          • Jonathan Rogers
            3:06 PM, 27 May 2011

            I’m surprised to hear yall say you couldn’t connect with Gaiman’s stories. I can understand people having problems with Gaiman (e.g., the ghoulishness of some of his stuff), but I find him very engaging even when I’m not crazy about the subject matter.

          • JJ M.
            3:15 PM, 27 May 2011

            I couldn’t put The Graveyard Book down, but I can see (like you Jonathan) how some people would have a hard time with his stuff. It often amazes me what passes for a “children’s book” these days.

          • Sally Apokedak
            4:07 PM, 27 May 2011

            I don’t know what it is about Gaiman. Maybe it’s because of his story about Susan. It made me sick when I read it. And since it’s the first thing I read by him, it’s possible that I go at all his stuff with a prejudice that I can’t get over. I can see when I read him that he’s a very good writer, and yet I just don’t care one bit for any of his characters. The few I’ve tried have had such a different outlook on life than I have that I can’t relate to them. It’s not his ghoulishness that bothers me. It’s his dislike of Christ, I’m pretty sure. 

          • Jonathan Rogers
            8:13 PM, 27 May 2011

            Sally, until this minute I didn’t realize that Gaiman was the one who wrote “The Problem with Susan” (which I haven’t read). When I last heard about the story, I didn’t know who Gaiman was… So I’ve known about the story and I’ve known about Gaiman, but I haven’t put them together. 

    • Jonathan Rogers
      2:40 PM, 27 May 2011

      Sally, the best place to get Mount Majestic is This is also the place to get Andrew P’s third Wingfeather book. Thanks for your recommendations (and for the shoutout to the Bog Owl and Charlatan’s Boy).
      As for Disqus, the main reason I haven’t ditched it already is that I can’t figure out how to keep from losing all the comments that have been made via Disqus. There’s a “sync” function to bring all those comments back into the native comment system, but it’s not working.

    • Loren Warnemuende
      11:57 PM, 28 May 2011

      I love Shannon Hale’s books; my husband and I polished off all of hers this winter. We also enjoyed a few Gail Carson Levine books (_Ella Enchanted_ and _Fairest_ and one other about twin sisters).  Seems like a lot of the best fiction is in the junior reading section!

      • Sally Apokedak
        12:15 AM, 29 May 2011

        I have not read Gail Carson Levine, but I bet you would like Julie Berry’s YA books. I’ve only read one so far, but thought it was pretty adorable–The Amaranth Enchantment. She came out with another one this past year but my book buying budget is pretty tight. You also should give The Star of Kazan a try. Eva Ibbotson is hit and miss, but when she hits, she’s pretty hard to beat. Her Countess Below Stairs had a little bit of plot trouble, but it was mostly a really enjoyable book. She has a good sense of humor. 
        So did you read Forest Born by Hale. (Oh man, I forgot to recommend  Book of a Thousand Days. I loved that one.)  I was afraid to buy the fourth Bayern book because it got mixed reviews and I wanted to end with a book I loved, River Secrets and not with a book like Enna Burning, which I loved less. 

        • Loren Warnemuende
          1:59 AM, 29 May 2011

          Thanks for the recommendations, Sally! Hmmm, guess we haven’t read all of Hale, because I don’t know Forest Born. Our library must not have that one. I have to agree with you on River Secrets over Enna Burning. We really liked Princess Academy, and Book of a Thousand Days was her first I read. At first I was bummed with it, because my long-term writing project (REALLY long term) has been a novel based on the fairy tale of Maid Maleen, and here was an author who’d used that fairy tale! But she took it a completely different direction, and considering my book will probably only ever be for family I’m not miffed any more 🙂 .

          • Sally Apokedak
            2:43 AM, 29 May 2011

            to put titles in italics you put  a small letter i in between two brackets 
            TITLE HERE

            I was amazed that Hale could put half of a book in a dark tower with only two characters and make it so interesting. I loved that book. I’d love to read yours, too. How close are you to finishing? 

          • Sally Apokedak
            2:45 AM, 29 May 2011

            oops. Ignore everything around the TITLE HERE except for the i’s in the brackets before and after TITLE HERE. The first i is to start italics and the /i is to end them. 

          • Loren Warnemuende
            2:09 AM, 30 May 2011

            Ah. I’ll experiment with the title brackets.
            …Good question as to how close I am to finishing my version of Maid Maleen. I think I’m almost 2/3 of the way through based on what I have planned for the rest. I’ve hardly physically touched it for a few years, but the story is part of the fabric of my life. My husband and I tend to relate life events to it; when we’re dealing with stuff we’ll ponder how it could be incorporated into the book. It’s great therapy!

            I probably would work on it more diligently if I took it more seriously. It’s hard to believe it’s worth writing when there’s so much happening in my everyday world. 

  • Aaron Roughton
    2:35 PM, 27 May 2011

    I haven’t been quite as thoughtful as your more literate commenters about what I’ll be reading this summer, but I have had the notion to read “So Brave, Young, and Handsome” by Leif Enger again.  That’s probably my favorite book ever.  Right now I’m reading “Monster In The Hollows” by Proprietor Peterson to my children at bedtime.  (I’ve already finished it myself.)  My bedtime story is currently “How The West Was Won…By Me.  You Heard Me Right.” by Chuck Norris.  No, I made that up.  I have “Hannah Coulter” by Wendel Berry on my nightstand, along with “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan.  That’s about the size of it.

    • Jonathan Rogers
      2:47 PM, 27 May 2011

      Aaron, did you read Enger’s Peace Like a River? If not, you need to read that one before you read So Brave Young and Handsome again. 

      • JJ M.
        2:58 PM, 27 May 2011

        I concur. Peace Like a River is one of my favs.

      • Aaron Roughton
        3:17 PM, 27 May 2011

        I did read Peace Like a River.  Loved it.  (Lindi will tell you that I spent about a year looking for the perfect homeade cinnamon roll recipe after reading it.  I ended up with Pilsbury Cinnabon Grands in the cardboard tube.  In other words, I gave up…not so much on the recipe as on my baking ability.)  But something about So Brave Young And Handsome resonated with me.  Maybe I’ll read ’em both again.  I wish that Enger feller would write a few more.

    • Melinda Speece
      5:28 PM, 27 May 2011

      Better pull out your Kleenex box for Hannah Coulter . . . I cried pretty much from chapter two or so until the end. 

      • Jonathan Rogers
        8:15 PM, 27 May 2011

        Melinda’s right, Aaron. You’re going to do the ugly cry if you read Hannah Coulter. You won’t look brave or handsome (though you may look young) once Hannah Coulter gets aholt of you.

    • Canaan Bound
      7:50 PM, 11 June 2011

      Chan’s the man.  Good choice. 🙂
      Oh, and…Hannah Coulter was my first Berry book…now I’m hooked.

  • Guest
    2:42 PM, 27 May 2011

    Moby Dick. 

    • Sally Apokedak
      2:46 PM, 27 May 2011

      I’m getting right on that one. Who waits for summer when Moby Dick is in the offing?

      • Guest
        2:48 PM, 27 May 2011

        tee hee!

      • Jonathan Rogers
        2:52 PM, 27 May 2011

        Glad to see Becca and Sally are getting some culture. Moby Dick will make you proud to be Americans.

    • Loren Warnemuende
      11:59 PM, 28 May 2011

      I wondered if that one would pop up!

  • Guest
    3:10 PM, 27 May 2011

    Best boat ever, BTW. Bet that’s the same guy who flew to Russia in a lawn chair tied to helium balloons?

  • Drew
    3:13 PM, 27 May 2011

    I’m gonna kick it old school and suggest “Treasure Island.” I didn’t read it until I reached the ripe ol’ age of 40, and loved every minute of it.
    For me, “summer reading” meant having the time to tackle very long books. To that end, I’ll recommend Mark Helprin’s “A Soldier of the Great War,” because I have to recommend something by Helprin. However, it appears that last year his “Swan Lake trilogy” was published in an omnibus edition, so for a lighter Helprin, try “A Kingdom Far and Clear,” which collects “Swan Lake,” “A City in Winter,” and “The Veil of Snows” all in one volume. Lighter is relative, of course. These these were originally marketed as children’s books, the language is probably too complex, and the wordplay and political satire is going to best be enjoyed by us grown-ups.

    If you want to really go nuts, try Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum.”

    Oh, and then reread “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

  • Drew
    3:22 PM, 27 May 2011

    My kids’ reading list (that is, what I’ve been reading to them this summer) consists of the following:
    “The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place” by Maryrose Wood — picked this up from the library on a whim and we enjoyed the heck out of it. It works as both a children’s book and a sort of satire of the Jane Eyre-style gothic novel. Excellent for reading aloud, too. Ends with mysteries unresolved, so we must now track down book 2!

    “The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic” — we just started this, and I’m not entirely taken in yet, but my kids are loving it, and are very intrigued by those spindly, underground Leafeaters. Though I think Worvil may soon become one of my favorite characters in kid-lit.

    “North, or be Eaten!” — and while I wait for The Monster in the Hollows to arrive in the mail, we will read (a re-read for me) the second part of Andrew Peterson’s fantastic series. We sat around the campfire last Saturday night and read to the point where the fangs (and trolls!) began their assault on Peet’s Castle. I hated to leave them hanging, but sheesh . . . it doesn’t let up for quite awhile after that, and I would have no voice left. 

    • Jonathan Rogers
      3:27 PM, 27 May 2011

      We LOVE the Incorrigibles around here. Great recommendation!

  • Christie Mulkey
    3:26 PM, 27 May 2011

    Ha!  I just picked up the Quanah Parker book yesterday.  (We are fresh from an Indian-packed trip to NM.)  I also checked out Tinkers–good reviews and a shiny medal.  Someone in the comments mentioned Annie Dilliard; her novel about the settling of the Pacific NW is marvelous.  It’s called The Living.  Thanks for the post!  I have been drowning in The Hunger Games books, which I do think is a reasonable bone to throw teenage-girls-trying-to-be-nice-about-not-being-able-to-join-in-Twilight conversations.

    • Jonathan Rogers
      3:28 PM, 27 May 2011

      Christie, let me know how the Quanah Parker book goes. I’ve got the itch to go out West and look around.

    • JJ M.
      3:34 PM, 27 May 2011

      I read The Hunger Games last summer and really enjoyed them. I considered rereading them this summer but the books have gone missing. 🙁
      But I will likely start another reread of Harry Potter this year. It’ll be probably my 4th or 5th reread of that great series.

      • Sally Apokedak
        3:57 PM, 27 May 2011

        oh man! New suggestion for Hunger Game fans: Divergent, by Veronica Roth. A very, very young Christian gal who is now a millionaire because her book is so much like Hunger Games only, I think, way better, because she’s writing from a Christian worldview. You want action? Read Divergent. And if you don’t care to read it, at least offer up a prayer for the young author when you pray for your favorite authors. (I’m not the only one who prays for authors am I?) Because we need more Christian worldview books in the general market children’s publishing world. 
        Did you Hunger Games fans like book 3? I was in the “sorely disappointed” group which, if Amazon reviews mean anything, put me in with 40% of the fans of books 1 and 2 who fell out of love on book 3. 

        • JJ M.
          4:03 PM, 27 May 2011

          I’ll definitely check out Divergent.
          I’m trying to remember book 3. I didn’t hate it, but do vaguely remember not enjoying it as much as the first two. I can’t remember why though.

    • Melinda Speece
      5:26 PM, 27 May 2011

      I think the last few paragraphs of The Living are among the best lines I’ve ever read. Always sorry when the last page of that book comes . . .

  • Christie Mulkey
    5:15 PM, 27 May 2011

    PS–I forgot about Daniel Woddrell.  Winter’s Bone was made into a movie last year (?), but it was only so- so.  The stories are great, though.  I had no idea what kind of shenanigans were going on in the Ozarks! Bleak and creepy.  Woddrell crafts a sentence nicely.  He also has a very loose and pleasing definition of what makes a noun a noun and a verb a verb.

  • Charles Atkinson
    5:16 PM, 27 May 2011

    I don’t know if I am allowed to insist on this book because I am only a third of the way through it, but I have really been enjoying The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. I have never read any Russian literature before and judging by the facial expressions I got from people when I told them I was reading it this summer (usually the nose wrinkle or the “why-would-you-read-a-book-like-that-when-you’re-on-break” raised eyebrows), I was bracing myself for a long, depressing ride.
    However, Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation that I am using is just fantastic and I have not been able to put it down (still have not suffered from depression yet too!).  The goodreads review I think is spot on: “This award-winning translation by
    Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky remains true to the verbal
    inventiveness of Dostoevsky’s prose, preserving the multiple voices, the
    humor, and the surprising modernity of the original. It is an
    achievement worthy of Dostoevsky’s last and greatest novel.”

    So it’s certainly not depressing, but it still is quite long so some of my friends and I have been reading it together in solidarity and discussing it here: – so you if it’s something you pick up this summer, please join in the discussion!

    Oh, a book that is specifically great for summer reading (and one that I completely insist on) is Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. The story (which is much shorter than BK) begins in an Illinois summer and… well, I don’t want to give anything away but it’s just plain beautiful.

    [If you would rather read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 though, I would wait till Fall.  It’s a much more Fallish book.]

    I hope everybody has a great Memorial Day weekend – thank you for all the great recommendations!


    • Melinda Speece
      5:24 PM, 27 May 2011

      Yes, yes, yes to Russian books translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky! Just follow their trail of translations for a all-time-great reading list! They are married and have amazing personal—and academic—backgrounds that contributes to their amazing (!) work!

    • Anonymous
      11:57 AM, 28 May 2011

      Charles, we must be twins separated at birth and also born of different mothers in different places.  At different times, too, I would imagine.  Hearty second to the Dostoevsky and kudos on your Bradbury recommendations, as well.  🙂

  • Aaron Roughton
    5:42 PM, 27 May 2011

    It took me a long time to realize that the picture for this post is of me.  So glad to have finally made it.

  • Melinda Speece
    5:48 PM, 27 May 2011

    Since when has 12:30 P.M. been considered late to the APF party?? 
    My summer plans include Husband finishing ordination process, moving 300 miles to begin ministry, and the (on-going) project of raising these children. So my summer list is going heavy on books written for twelve-year-old girls (even though I’m 39), including the new one from Ally Carter. She has one series about a school for soon-to-be spies with titles like Only the Good Spy Young and Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover. Her new one is a follow-up to Heist Society called Uncommon Criminals. (This is less a recommendation and more of a confession, maybe.)

    And I would also recommend  these YA books, perfect for summer reading: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall and Shades of Gray, EXCELLENT debut  by Ruta Sepetys (about Stalin’s Latvian deportation).

    • Sally Apokedak
      5:57 PM, 27 May 2011

      I really want Shades of Gray, but what did I buy last? Divergent. I’ve turned into a short-attention-spanned thrill seeker in this computer age. Bad, bad, bad. 

      • Melinda Speece
        6:00 PM, 27 May 2011

        Did you notice how I started by mentioning a book called Uncommon Criminals? Bad, bad, bad.
        Stay strong, Sally, and get Shades of Gray soon. 

    • Jonathan Rogers
      6:55 PM, 27 May 2011

      People like talking about books around here, Melinda. 48 comments before the end of lunchtime might be a record. So you’re a little late to the party, but there’s still some Chex Mix left. And that one last piece of the four-foot sandwich that nobody wants to take for fear of looking greedy. 
      Thanks for the recommendations.

  • Jen Rose
    1:40 AM, 28 May 2011

    Oh man… if I read this too closely, my list might get even longer. Better not.
    When summer comes, I like to read children/YA books, because there’s a part of me that slightly resents not having summer vacation anymore. 🙂 I try to find something I missed as a kid and read that; just finished The Hobbit for the first time. Eager to get started on The Monster in the Hollows, and would like to read the last two books in The Hunger Games.

    But I also have a Rabbit Room shipment coming… The Way of the Maker and The War of Art. Somehow, I’ve got to get at least a little Hutchmoot reading done this summer!

    Can I just take a month off from life, hole up in a cabin, and read my list?

  • Hannah Joy
    2:45 AM, 28 May 2011

    Right now I am reading Nicholas Nickleby by the Charles Dickens. Very good. All the books I have read by Dickens so far I have greatly enjoyed.
    I have to agree that Leepike Ridge is quite an amazing book. You should also read Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl by the same author. Non fiction, but incredible.

    What else? Ah, The Mysterious Benedict Society series. Those are very good.

    I also VERY much enjoyed the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (the first one is called The Book of Three).

    If I don’t stop myself, this is going to be one long list. I apologize. 😉

    • Loren Warnemuende
      12:08 AM, 29 May 2011

      Oooh, thanks for the reminder of the Prydain Chromicles. I’ve got them and I bet my daughter will be ready for listening to them soon!

  • Jess
    2:54 AM, 28 May 2011

    Well, if anyone’s late, I’m late. What a rotten time to take
    a day (mostly) off from the internet. I love talking about books. Especially in
    the summertime (I finished 10th grade just two days ago; very pleased
    about that).


    I agree with one of the previous commenters (forgive my
    laziness in not going back to look who it was. Blame it on a stuffy nose),
    summer is for kids’ books. With just a few hard, deep ones in between. And mix
    in some comic books (the Adventures of Tintin are the best). And remember the


    I’m reading (re-reading, actually) the Swallows and Amazons
    books by Arthur Ransome, and I would (and do) recommend them to all of my
    friends and maybe even strangers. And I’d say to read The Fiddler’s Gun and
    Fiddler’s Green by Pete Peterson (you all know him). Everyone has already
    mentioned the Wingfeather Saga, 100 Cupboards, Wilderking Trilogy, Mount Majestic,
    etc. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.


    There was one other, though, that I also really wanted to
    recommend… and dang, I can’t remember. I always forget the important things.
    Well, to summarize, Tintin, any Arthur Ransome you can lay your hands on (he
    also has non-fictions and essays), anything from the Rabbit Room, Ernest


    I am stalling. Goodnight, then.


    Summer reading rocks.


    I don’t get to read on the beach. I’m land-locked for the
    summer, and a little sick about it, but I’ll enjoy it anyway. My favorite place
    to read is lying on the deck in the full sunlight.


    I’m still stalling.

    • Loren Warnemuende
      12:10 AM, 29 May 2011

      My sister loves the TinTin comics, but my husband and I are addicted to Asterix. Hmmm, time to pull those out again!

      • Melinda Speece
        1:12 AM, 29 May 2011

        ‘Round here, dramatic readings of TinTin and Asterix are given out as prizes to the children. We recently read Astrix in Belgium which included  a cameo by TinTin’s Thompson and Thompson. I thought the kids were going have a heart-attack-of-delight—they thought it was UPROARIOUSLY funny that the two converged.

  • Jess
    2:57 AM, 28 May 2011

    Argh, I didn’t mean it to be all spread out like that. It looks terrible. My apologies. And sorry for posting three comments in quick succession. I think I’ll go tear my hair out.

  • Dan F
    3:55 AM, 28 May 2011

    Recommendation: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrandt.
    The account of Louie Zamperini. His story of survival through the horrors of WWII is so amazing that if it were fiction, people would say it was contrived. But in truth, the most awesome, powerful, unbelievable part of the whole story comes at the very end….

    • EmmaJ
      11:18 PM, 31 May 2011

      Madeleine, does your husband, perhaps, recall Mr. Zamperini coming to his college as a guest speaker? I can’t figure out if I remember that for real, or if I just made it up 🙂

  • Madeleine
    3:48 PM, 28 May 2011

    Please read The Light Princess by George MacDonald. It’s so short you won’t have even have to invest an entire afternoon. It’s a delightful fairytale with an ending that rings true, true, true. I found it at my local library in an edition with pictures by Maurice Sendak. His pictures always bring back fond, nostalgic feelings of childhood favorites. I loved it so much my husband bought me a copy for my birthday. So when you need an hour or two of refreshment for the mind and spirit, give The Light Princess a try.

    • Madeleine
      3:51 PM, 28 May 2011

      Hmm. That was Madeleine, not Dan F. We do share an email address, but I specifically typed my name into the name box this time. Not sure if you can only have one handle per email, but if that’s the case we are going to have to figure out which one gets to have it. Ha!

  • EmmaJ
    11:37 PM, 28 May 2011

    One of the definite perks of Hutchmoot 2010 was being introduced to Wendell Berry (“introduced” in a recommendation sense, but it sure would have been cool if he could have come over from Kentucky). But you are already well-initiated into the dusty-bug-glorious world of Port William. I would recommend Phantastes and Lilith (George MacDonald) to anyone who is up for a challenge.
    As soon as I get to the front of the library line, I should be getting a few volumes of Michael Pollan’s recent work. As I am absolutely in favor of eating food that is food, and that is mainly vegetable in nature, I’m looking forward to The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I have to wait for a bit, but I’m glad to know that other people are interested in the topic enough to consider it.

    On the lighter side, I’ve been having a lot of fun with Dr. Doolittle lately (although please note that  there are some unfortunate passages with ethnocentric, even racist, overtones; from some modern versions these have been expunged).

  • Loren Warnemuende
    1:54 AM, 29 May 2011

     So can I count this as Audience Participation Saturday?
    I think my summer reading list might be one of those cases of biting off more than I can chew, but there’s always the fall for leftovers.

    We’ve got some long road trips this summer, so we’ll havegood family read-aloud books for the road, starting with The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic. We’ll probably end up reading bits and pieces of the Chronicles of Narnia since we just finished those and my almost six-year-old doesn’t believe there are any books as good as those 🙂 . I’m thinking we also need to introduce The Wizard of Oz and maybe The Borrowers. I’m debating whether we should wait a little longer before she’s ready for The Wingfeather Saga.

    For me, currently waiting on my shelves:
    The Charlatan’s Boy 🙂
    Gilead (Hmmm, wonder where I got the recommendation for that?)
    The Monster in the Hollows
    The Codebearers Series, by the Miller Brothers
    Small as an Elephant, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (just strongly recommended by a school-librarian friend)
    The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (coming out as a movie this summer, and another friend gave me rave book reviews)
    Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas (my high aspiration….)
    Some light-fluff Christian lit my neighbor just handed off to me that I may or may not finish; it depends on if it drives me crazy or not.

    And now I need a reminder as to how I can italicize my titles in a comment!

    • Anonymous
      1:09 PM, 30 May 2011

      Loren, simple HTML tags will work to italicize in this case – begin italics with and end them with (without the spaces).

  • Laura Peterson
    3:45 PM, 29 May 2011

    This APF (APS?) has reminded me of a quote I wrote down from Hutchmoot 2010: “I make it a practice to not read anything I don’t feel like reading.” – Jonathan RogersWhat is one to do when one feels like reading everything?!?! Such a dilemma. My summer list is usually too ambitious to actually get through, so I’ll just throw this one out – I’d like to read True Grit. I loved the movie and had no idea it was a book first until I wandered into Barnes & Noble. Every time I’ve returned, I feel like it’s giving me the Stare from the shelf until I finally pick it up and get lost in all that great language.
    Someone earlier in the comments mentioned Neil Gaiman and “The Problem of Susan” – I hadn’t heard about that story until recently, but after figuring out what it was I made a deliberate decision to not read it…..a decision which I’m looking to be affirmed in! Sometimes I feel like I ought to read controversial or popular things just to be “informed,” but I don’t really want Mr. Gaiman’s imaginings of Susan muddying up the Susan I know and love and can have hope for in my own mind. Good thing I have a good strong “don’t read it if you don’t feel like it” quote to fall back on in my defense. 🙂

    • Sally Apokedak
      7:23 PM, 30 May 2011

      Oh, ho, ho, now we find the truth out about our Jonathan Rogers. HE never reads anything he doesn’t feel like reading. And he must then believe that WE should never read anything we don’t feel like reading, either.
      But we’d all be better off if we could all be reasonable human being and jolly well feel like reading Moby Dick. 🙂 

      You’re not missing anything by missing Gaiman’s Narnia story. It was not the way he envisioned Susan or the White Witch that was the most egregious. It was the way he envisioned Aslan. Gaiman looks at life the way so many atheists do. Humans are good, and gods and devils are one and the same. 

      • Guest
        2:09 AM, 2 June 2011

        I like Sally.

  • Fellow Traveler
    8:42 PM, 30 May 2011

    Someone else beat me to it with _Gilead_. For those who haven’t yet read it, I would recommend the _Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet_, which is a series of four books by Ellis Peters about the history of Wales. It tells the story of King Llewellyn, who fought Edward when he successfully took over the country in the 1200s. Told in the first person from the perspective of Llewellyn’s closest friend (a fictional character). Beautifully written, worth savoring. Perfect summer reading because you have time to finish it all.

    • Loren Warnemuende
      1:40 AM, 31 May 2011

      Have you read Ellis Peters’ Cadfael mysteries? I love those! I’ll have to check out the Brothers series.

      • Fellow Traveler
        6:28 PM, 1 June 2011

        Yes, they’re wonderful. My mother has a complete or near-complete collection. She’s such a gifted writer.
        The _Brothers_ is sort of like a huge novel in four parts. You can get them all bound together. It’s very different from the Cadfael mysteries, much sadder and more intense, but just amazingly done.

  • Christie Mulkey
    9:20 PM, 30 May 2011

    Can’t stop with the summer reading enthusiasm…Anyone familiar with Josephine Tey?  I just discovered her a few years ago.  My favorite book is The Daughter of Time.  She has a bee in her bonnet about the Covenanters, but don’t let that distract you; she’s clearly skewed and her little rant has nothing to do with the actual mystery.  I’m with Tey on this historical conspiracy–and we are backed up by the U.S. Supreme Court!  See what you think…

    • Sally Apokedak
      9:50 PM, 30 May 2011

      I had never heard of her until a few months ago. I read Brat Farrar when I friend suggested it. It was good. I’ll have to give The Daughter of Time a try. I wish they were on Kindle. 

    • livingoakheart
      1:28 PM, 13 June 2011

      Did you research the Covenanters? Not saying you’re wrong, but since her other historical knowledge is so good…Also, my favorite book by Tey might be either Miss Pym Disposes of Brat Farrar.

  • EmmaJ
    11:15 PM, 31 May 2011

    Getting into “Audience Participation Tuesday” now, but just thought of a few others that I can’t resist recommending:
    G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (available on Librivox, if you want to listen)

    and P.G. Wodehouse’s Leave it to Psmith or any of the Jeeves and Wooster novels. So fabulously silly, if you’re looking for something light.

    • EmmaJ
      11:15 PM, 31 May 2011

      Yes! Italics worked!

  • Canaan Bound
    8:09 PM, 11 June 2011

    I know this may seem like heresy around these parts, but I read the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers last summer and still haven’t recovered.  They wrecked me (in a good way) and significantly reshaped my understanding of faith, martyrdom, and the early church.  Though sophistocated readers probably wouldn’t give her writing much credence, I think her work is really quite good.  In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and elevate that status to genius.  Her insight into humans and the way people relate to one another astounds me.  And though her books are predominantly read by females, I haven’t come across a male who has read Rivers and not thoroughly enjoyed her.
    Of course, my personal reading list includes much of what I’m sure you’ve already read (Dos Petersons, Berry, O’Connor, Lamott, Dickens, and the like).

    • livingoakheart
      10:03 PM, 11 June 2011

      I personally liked Redeeming Love by the same author. It reshaped my understanding of mercy.

      • Canaan Bound
        4:40 AM, 12 June 2011

        Redeeming Love was my initial segue into the world of Rivers.  And I’m glad of it.

    • Loren Warnemuende
      8:23 PM, 12 June 2011

      I’ll admit I’ve liked a number of Rivers’ books, too. I remember reading the first of The Mark of the Lion books in college (putting off homework as I plowed through it, it was so suspenseful), and was in agony when the book left me hanging because the second one hadn’t been published yet! I think that was my first experience with a cliffhanger book 🙂 .

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:04 AM, 13 June 2011

      Hey, Canaan Bound–I hear great things about Francine Rivers, though I haven’t read any of them. No need to apologize…we’re all friends here.

  • Anonymous
    1:54 PM, 6 July 2011

    Having just returned from vacation, John Buchan’s _The Dancing Floor_ is a supremely satisfying read.

    • Fellow Traveler
      3:45 PM, 6 July 2011

      Buchan is great. There is a bit of a “poor man’s Rider Haggard” feel about him, but his novels are very satisfying and enjoyable on their own. Try _The Island of Sheep_ some time.

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