Summer Reading Recommendations

Summer of Reading update
Just another quick update on our Summer of Reading series! We have received several recommendations from our patrons, and we wanted to share them with you. This week’s selections include: The Time Traveler’s Wife; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Gulliver’s Travels; and On the Road. Read some of the reviews below and be sure to send us a review or recommendation of your favorite summertime reading.
The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Recommended and Reviewed by Sarah Burnham, AUM ’09.
In her 2003 novel The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger incorporates love, loss, and science fiction in the story of time-traveler Henry and his wife Claire. Henry discovers his “chronological impairment” at a very young age and suffers from the condition for the rest of his life, sporadically and unpredictably visiting different moments in time without the ability to take anything—clothes included—along the way. Even in face of such challenges, Henry and Claire build a unique and strong relationship, with their bond both tested and strengthened by Henry’s condition. Leaving out none of the bittersweet realities of love and romance or paradoxes of time travel, Audrey Niffenegger still engages and engrosses the reader on several levels in this unforgettable novel.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Recommended by Sarah Burnham, AUM ’09
“This is the story of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy— perhaps the most remarkable, certainly the most successful book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor. More popular than the Celestial Homecare Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things To Do In Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid’s trilogy of philosophical blockbusters: Where God Went Wrong, Some More Of God’s Greatest Mistakes, and Who Is This God Person Anyway?. And in many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom. Because although it has many omissions, contains much that is apocryphal—or at least wildly inaccurate—it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important ways: first, it is slightly cheaper, and second, it has the words “ DON ’ T PANIC ” inscribed in large, friendly letters on the cover.
To tell the story of the book, it’s best to tell the story of some of the minds behind it. A human, from the planet Earth, was one of them—though as our story opens, he no more knows his destiny than a tea leaf knows the history of the East India Company. His name is Arthur Dent, he is a six-foot tall ape descendant, and someone is trying to drive a bypass through his home.” (from the opening lines of the book)
On the Road, by Jack Keroac.
Recommended by Lane Powell, AUM Library Fan
Poetic, open and raw, Kerouac’s prose lays out a cross-country adventure as experienced by Sal Paradise, an autobiographical character. A writer holed up in a room at his aunt’s house, Paradise gets inspired by Dean Moriarty (a character based on Kerouac’s friend Neal Cassady) to hit the road and see America. From the moment he gets on the seven train out of New York City, he takes the reader through the highs and lows of hitchhiking, bonding with fellow explorers and opting for beer before food. First published in 1957, Kerouac’s perennially hot story continues to express the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people rush out to see the world. (review from
Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift
Four-part satirical novel by Jonathan Swift, published anonymously in 1726 as Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. The novel is ostensibly the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon and sea captain who visits remote regions of the world. In the beginning Gulliver is shipwrecked on Lilliput, where people are six inches tall. The Lilliputians’ utterly serious wars, civil strife, and vanities are human follies so reduced in scale as to be rendered ridiculous. His second voyage takes him to Brobdingnag, where lives a race of giants of great practicality who do not understand abstractions. Gulliver’s third voyage takes him to the flying island of Laputa and the nearby continent and capital of Lagado. There he finds pedants obsessed with their own specialized areas of speculation and utterly ignorant of the rest of life. At Glubdubdrib, the Island of Sorcerers, he speaks with great men of the past and learns from them the lies of history. He also meets the Struldbrugs, who are immortal and, as a result, utterly miserable. In the extremely bitter fourth part, Gulliver visits the land of the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent, virtuous horses served by brutal, filthy, and degenerate creatures called Yahoos.(review from