Lately, it seems that all people can talk about are books — and the movies and shows these books have spawned. Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, the list goes on forever. But not every great book gets snatched up by Hollywood. Here’s my list of five great summer reads that have not yet been featured on the big screen.
1. Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow
Little Brother is, as the title suggests, a modern-day 1984. Through the eyes of Marcus, aka “w1n5t0n,” the reader is thrust into a world very similar to our own, shortly following a terrorist attack. In this book, Doctorow shows us both the startling reality of our own government, and the future that it could lead to. This is a great read for anyone who loves a good hacker story, or just looking for a fun, political novel with a twist of adventure.
2. A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray
Set in Victorian England, this novel (and its two sequels) follow the adventures of Gemma Doyle, a blooming clairvoyant, at her new, all-girls boarding school. While the world may be a little bored with the whole magical-boarding-school-in-the-boonies-of-Britain plot line, I can guarantee that it is worth the read. Bray touches on the issues of gender roles in the time period, as well as subjects of homosexuality and child abuse, all while creating a fantastic other world, full of danger, romance and, of course, magic. The third book will leave you in tears (I suggest not reading it in your high school geography class like I did), but the entire series is wonderful, and a great way to spend those lazy summer nights.
3. Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Just the name is enough to chill you to the bones, even during the hottest days of August. A poetic, emotional novel, Wintergirls is a startling account of one girl’s struggle with an eating disorder, directly following her best friend’s death. Though this book is far from an inspiring pick-me-up, the writing is so beautiful and so personal that it is impossible to put down once you’ve started reading.
4. The Things They Carried, by Time O’Brien
Written in a beautiful vignette style, O’Brien’s novel mixes both autobiographical events and fictional memories to create a collage of emotion and a testament of what the war in Vietnam was really like. Though the subject matter is dark, the story is not depressing — instead, it makes a clear impression of the psychological damages of war, and the delicacy of human nature itself. A more serious read, but definitely recommended.
5. The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud
This book, the first of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, is possibly my favorite book of all time. Written with sharp wit and incredible imagination, this novel dives into an alternate world, where corrupt magicians run the government, aided by their demon slaves. The story follows the life of a boy named Nathaniel, who is being raised to become a magician, and the demon he’s summoned into his service, a sarcastic, joke-cracking djinni named Bartimaeus. Though this book is aimed towards a younger audience, its intelligent composition and realistically dark events makes it a fantastic read for anyone. I cannot recommend this book — this series — enough.
What’s on your summer reading list?