Summer Reading List (2013)

Grades have been recorded, graduation and banquet have been attended, and I slept in until 8:00 this morning. All of which means summer has officially started and I can begin to plan out how I will spend the next 8 weeks of break. While a good portion of my time will be devoted to logging miles out on the various trails around my house and writing (new teaching plans for the coming year, freelance clients, and creating a new paid subscription service, which I am pretty excited about), a fair amount of my summer will also be spent reading. Below is a list of books I intend to read, but I would love additional suggestions if anyone has some. (All summaries from Amazon)

Paris by Edward Rutherford
Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalties , passion, and long-kept secrets of characters both fictional and real, all set against the backdrop of the glorious city—from the building of Notre Dame to the dangerous machinations of Cardinal Richlieu; from the glittering court of Versailles to the violence of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune; from the hedonism of the Belle Époque, the heyday of the impressionists, to the tragedy of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots to the Nazi occupation, the heroic efforts of the French Resistance, and the 1968 student revolt. ” 

I am actually in the middle of this epic novel already. A student who shares my taste in books gave it to me about a month ago after reading it herself and giving it a huge two thumbs up. However, between grading finals and finishing off the school year I just have not had time to finish it. It is a fantastic book if you like historical fiction and I can’t wait to finish.

Michelangelo and The Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King
” Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling recounts the four extraordinary years Michelangelo spent laboring over the vast ceiling while the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, the pope’s impatience, and a bitter rivalry with the brilliant young painter Raphael, Michelangelo created scenes so beautiful that they are considered one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. A panorama of illustrious figures converged around the creation of this great work-from the great Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus to the young Martin Luther-and Ross King skillfully weaves them through his compelling historical narrative, offering uncommon insight into the intersection of art and history.”

I picked this one up for a buck at the most recent library sale. Looks interesting.

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick
Nathaniel Philbrick became an internationally renowned author with his National Book Award winning In the Heart of the Sea, hailed as spellbinding by Time magazine. In Mayflower, Philbrick casts his spell once again, giving us a fresh and extraordinarily vivid account of our most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. From the Mayflower’s arduous Atlantic crossing to the eruption of King Philip’s War between colonists and natives decades later, Philbrick reveals in this electrifying history of the Pilgrims a fifty-five-year epic, at once tragic and heroic, that still resonates with us today.”

Since I (along with millions of others) can trace one branch of my family tree back to the Mayflower, and since there is a plaque commemorating King Philip’s War right down the street from my house, I thought this might be a good book to read. 

The Inner Jefferson by Andrew Burstein
Thomas Jefferson’s personal life has always been a puzzle to biographers. Even his contemporaries found him difficult to know. In Jefferson’s correspondence, however, Andrew Burstein has found a key to the inner man. This penetrating and thoughtful portait confronts widespread misunderstandings about Jefferson’s romantic life and provides insight into the contradictions that still surround our third president.”

I have always been a huge Thomas Jefferson admirer, so this book really appeals to me. One of the best books I read last summer was Thomas Jefferson and The Classical World, so here is hoping this new Jefferson book is just as interesting.

Black Order by James Rollins
A sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore ignites a relentless hunt across four continents. Arson and murder reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin. And Commander Gray Pierce dives headlong into a mystery that dates back to Nazi Germany…and to horrific experiments performed in a now-abandoned laboratory in Poland.

A continent away, madness ravages a remote monastery in Nepal, as Buddhist monks turn to cannibalism and torture. Lisa Cummings, an American doctor investigating the atrocity, is suddenly a target of a brutal assassin. And Lisa’s only ally is Painter Crowe, director of SIGMA Force, who already shows signs of the baffling malady.

Now it is up to Gray Pierce to save them both as SIGMA Force races to expose a century-old plot that threatens to destroy the current world order . . . and alter the destiny of humankind forever.”

Pure beach read, but hey, it is a summer reading list after all.

The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
This is a book that really needs no summary as it is a classic. It has been sitting on my shelf for a while as one of those Things-You-Should-Read books. I think I will give it a go this summer. Then again, I may not. Placing it on the list is my way of trying to motivate myself for this one.

Well, that is my list so far, but I am open to suggestions. Read anything good lately?