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Book Nook: Great Summer Reads

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: summer seems to be made for a certain type of book.  It’s made for passion, intensity, and all of the more fiery emotions.  If I’m going to read a book with cool emotions, I’ll read it in the winter.  In the summer, I want heat. As CC2K’s book editor, I think I would be neglecting my duties not to give some recommendations of summer reading for you.  As a bonus, I’ve picked out books that I think would be particularly appropriate to read this summer, as opposed to any other summer.  Hey, you can’t say I’m not looking out for your well being.

So, in alphabetical order by author:

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Why it’s a perfect summer read: Kate Daniels works as a mercenary, solving magical problems for money.  She’s tough, sarcastic, and a loner, hiding her heritage from everyone around her.  This is a world where all myths are true, magic and technology war for dominance, and only the strongest survive.  I know I’ve recommended the Kate Daniels series before, but these books really are perfect summer reads.  This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series, filled with action, magic, kick-ass heroines, and romance, and it just keeps getting better and better as it goes along.

Why it’s perfect for summer 2011: Magic Slays, the fifth book in the series, is being released on May 31, and Magic Dreams, a novella set in Kate’s world, will release in the Hexed anthology on June 7.  So if you’re just jumping into Kate’s world, you’ll be guaranteed new reading for a good chunk of the summer.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why it’s a perfect summer read: Gatsby is one of my favorite classic reads, and everything about it screams “summer”: Gatsby’s decadent parties, the forbidden romance between Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, the intrigue of the Long Island elite.  If you were never forced to read it during school, you’re missing out.  And if you were, you might want to tackle it again: it’s a cooler book than you remember.

Why it’s perfect for summer 2011: By next year, there’s a good chance that Baz Luhrmann’s 3D spectacular will have blocked out all good memories of the book.  (I swear, if Daisy Buchanan starts singing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,”  I’m walking out of the theater.)

Feed by Mira Grant

Why it’s a perfect summer read: When I picked up this book last year, I was expecting a horror novel about zombies.  What I found was a taut blend of mystery, political thriller, and science fiction that just happened to have zombies in the background.  Three news bloggers follow the campaign of a presidential candidate in a world that experienced a zombie apocalypse 25 years earlier.  There’s a lot of commentary on modern media and the culture of fear that the US has developed, but at its heart, this is a whodunit caper…with zombies.

Why it’s perfect for summer 2011: Deadline, the second book in the trilogy, is being released on May 31.  Plus, by summer next year, you’ll probably be so sick of hearing about presidential campaigns that reading about them in your fiction just won’t seem appealing.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Why it’s a perfect summer read: John Irving is one of those divisive writers—you either love him or hate him.  (I both love him and hate him.)  But of all his books, Owen Meany is probably the most accessible.  It’s got everything: love, friendship, sex, death, unforgettable characters, and the idiosyncrasies that Irving is famous for.  If you like it, you can launch into Irving’s other works.  If not…well, I don’t recommend The World According to Garp.

Why it’s perfect for summer 2011: This is purely selfish—it’s an awesome book, but I want to find out whether anyone else has the same ambivalent reaction to Irving that I do.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Why it’s a perfect summer read: Although Meyer’s Twilight series has gotten most of the publicity, I think this is a stronger story.  Body snatching aliens have come to Earth, taking over our planet in the hopes of making the world a better place.  But a small group of humans are fighting back, determined to evade the aliens and take back their rightful places in the world.  When one of these body-snatching aliens is implanted in a rebel human named Melanie, Melanie refuses to capitulate and give up her body.  There’s violence, romance, and aliens.  My kind of book.

Why it’s perfect for summer 2011: Reading The Host this summer will help you forget that the first part of the Breaking Dawn movie is coming out in November.