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Archive for July 22, 2011

The Bookworms Poll: Best Summer Read

Alright people, your nominations are in.  Two weeks ago, I asked you for what you consider to be the best book for reading during the summer.  I have compiled the most popular responses into a poll.  Below the poll, I have included a blurb about each book so check them out before you vote so you know about all of your options.  Which of these would you be most likely to pick up as you face the sweltering days of summer?

Blurbs ( The links take you to Amazon to check out reviews and any other info.  The descriptions are from Good Reads)

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender:  When Alexis’s little sister Kasey becomes obsessed with an antique doll, Alexis thinks nothing of it. Kasey is a weird kid. Period. Alexis is considered weird, too, by the kids in her high school, by her parents, even by her own Goth friends. Things get weirder, though, when the old house they live in starts changing. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Kasey is changing, too. Her blue eyes go green and she speaks in old-fashioned language, then forgets chunks of time.

Most disturbing of all is the dangerous new chip on Kasey’s shoulder. The formerly gentle, doll-loving child is gone, and the new Kasey is angry. Alexis is the only one who can stop her sister — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

The First Xanth book by Piers Anthony: Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled–where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn’t find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn’t find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave….

Harlan Coben Thrillers like this one: Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can’t trust her own instincts about this story—or the motives of the people around her.

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:The mysterious Jay Gatsby embodies the American notion that it is possible to redefine oneself and persuade the world to accept that definition. Gatsby’s youthful neighbor, Nick Carraway, fascinated with the display of enormous wealth in which Gatsby revels, finds himself swept up in the lavish lifestyle of Long Island society during the Jazz Age. Considered Fitzgerald’s best work, The Great Gatsby is a mystical, timeless story of integrity and cruelty, vision and despair.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again.

But one truth yet remains, and what mortal men forget, the Aes Sedai do not…

What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo: A modern look at a legendary fashion icon with practical life lessons for women of all ages…

Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella: Beck has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamourous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it–not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank–letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy her something…just a little something…

Finally a story aries that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life–and the lives of those around her–forever.

One Day by David Nicholls:Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice:In this engrossing and hypnotic tale of witchcraft and the occult spanning four centuries, we meet a great dynasty of witches–a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is haunted by a powerful, dangerous and seductive being.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town…

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg: Cotton candy at the state fair. S’mores around the campfire. Hot dogs at a baseball game. Some foods are inextricably linked to events or places. Wizenberg has noted similar associations between food and her own life, and she shares them in this delightful treat of a book. Part recipe book, part memoir, Wizenberg takes us through the moments of her life and the memorable foods that helped mark those occasions. Time-tested and good tasting, her recipes range from the simple to the complex, the healthful to the decadent. Some are original and some are borrowed, but each one marks an event — important or mundane — with equal significance.

Jeeves and Wooster by P.G. Wodehouse: From the introduction by Hugh Laurie: “The first thing you should know and probably the last too is that PG Wodehouse is still the funniest writer ever to put words on paper. This much is uncontested by all but the most irretrievably insane. Fact number two: with the Jeeves stories, Wodehouse created the best of the best. The world of Jeeves is complete and integral; every bit as structured, layered, ordered, complex and self-contained as King Lear and considerably funnier.”

I have not read all of these, by many of them have just been added to The List.  If you were at a book store looking for your ideal summer read, which one would you pick up, based on your knowledge of them and the blurbs?  Leave me a lovely comment explaining why!  Happy weekend.

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