Summer vacation brings with it the opportunity to take your time with a good book. But what to read?
The Arizona Daily Sun asked a family, librarians, a book club and book store workers for their suggestions.
Author Monica Brown, NAU associate professor of English Jeff Burglund and their daughters, Isabella (12) and Juliana Berglund-Brown, (10) are voracious readers. Each member of the family composed a list of summer reading suggestions.
Their suggestions are complemented by the recommendations from the youth services staff of the Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library, suggestions from staff members of the Flagstaff Bookmans store and the summer reading schedule of a local book club.
MONICA BROWN'S SUGGESTIONS
-- Jhumpa Lahiri, "Interpreter of Maladies" (Houghton Mifflin, 1999) story collection
"It is hard to believe that this is Lahiri's debut short story collection. It isn't hard to believe that won the Pulitzer Prize. It is a beautiful and enlightening exploration of the lives of immigrants and expatriates of Indian decent, along with their children's first generation American stories."
-- Luis Urrea, "The Devil's Highway" (Little, Brown, 2004) creative non-fiction
"I wish every person living in Arizona would read this book. It offers uncommon insight into the lives of the undocumented Mexican border crossers. A riveting and often disturbing tale, which Urrea brings to life in a way that will resonate long after you finish reading."
-- Marie Arana, "Cellophane" (Dell, 2006) novel
"I love this story, not only because Arana is a fellow Peruvian-American, but because it is filled with love, passion, epic family history and politics that go hand in hand with the magical realist genre that rose from the Caribbean and the Americas. If you are a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, take a chance on this U.S. Latina writer."
-- Tim O'Brien, "The Things They Carried" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1990) short fiction
"As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I appreciated the insight into soldiering and war that this book offered. It was published two decades ago, but these are still the most eloquent, powerful stories I've read on the subject."
-- Nicole Walker, "This Noisy Egg" (Barrow Street Press, 2010) poetry collection
"I need to give my new colleague a shout-out for her wonderful new book. I don't usually read much poetry, but Walker's poems are luscious and rich and fun."
JEFF BERGLUND'S SUGGESTIONS
-- Lorrie Moore, "A Gate at the Stairs" (Knopf, 2009) novel
"The newest novel by preeminent short story writer Lorrie Moore. Set in the wake of 9/11, set in a mid-western university town and its surrounding farmlands, Moore's protagonist meditates on her experiences as a young woman, her observations on racism, parenting, consumerism and indirectly, the threat of terrorism."
-- Edwidge Danticat, "Krik? Krak!" (Viking, 1996) short fiction
"Offers insight into Haitian culture and the Haitian immigrant experience through its stories set both in Haiti and the United States. In the wake of January's devastating earthquake, perhaps even more timely and resonant than when it was published to acclaim almost 15 years ago. You'll be compelled to check out her later publications, including 'The Farming of Bones' and 'Brother, I'm Dying.'"
-- Philip Roth, "Plot Against America" (Viking, 2002) novel
"A conspiracy thriller from Philip Roth, one of the nation's most talented living writers. In this third installment of his American trilogy, Roth imagines the ascent of the Nazi party in World War II-era America and the effects it has on his protagonist's family and the social fabric of the nation."
-- Susan Power, Grass Dancer (Berkley Trade, 1997) novel
"Set in contemporary and historical North Dakota, Susan Power's expansive novel follows the heartbreaking and inspiring lives of Dakota and Anglo characters coming into an understanding of their place in the world and the profound link between the past and the present."
-- Louise Erdrich, "Shadow Tag" (Harper, 2010) novel
"The newest novel by the prolific Louise Erdrich follows the unraveling lives of a husband and wife; the plot is set in motion when the latter begins to keep a fictitious diary filled with falsehoods and exaggerations, all designed to get revenge on her untrusting husband."
SUGGESTIONS BY ISABELLA BERGLUND-BROWN, AGE 12:
-- Wendy Mass, "A Mango Shaped Space" (Little, Brown, 2003) middle grade novel
"I love every single book that Wendy Mass has written, but this is my favorite because you can definitely relate to the main character's life and struggles."
-- Sarah Weeks, "So B. It" (Harper Trophy, 2004) middle grade novel
"This book is a very interesting read. It is sad but makes you want to keep reading and find out what happens next."
-- Trenton Lee Stewart, "The Mysterious Benedict Society" (Little, Brown, 2007) middle grade novel
"I love this book because it has suspense, mystery, adventure and it is still relatable to real life. When I first read this book I could not put it down!"
-- Cynthia Kadohata, "Kira-Kira" (Aladdin, 2004) middle grade novel
"This Newberry Award winner is a very meaningful book. It describes the relationship between two sisters and how they make impacts on each other's lives. This book is truly unforgettable."
-- Lois Lowry, "Number the Stars" (Yearling, 1989) middle grade novel
"This book, also a Newberry Award winner, is about the Holocaust. I like it because it describes the struggles of the Jewish people from a child's perspective."
SUGGESTIONS FROM JULIANA BERGLUND-BROWN, AGE 10
-- James Patterson, "Maximum Ride" (Little, Brown, 2006) middle grade novel
"'Maximum Ride' is a great series about six parentless bird mutant children growing up in a very dangerous side of the world."
-- Rick Riordan, "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" (Disney Hyperion, 2005-2009) middle grade novel
"The Percy Jackson series is about many children that have one mortal parent and one immortal parent. This story is excellent and I highly recommend it."
-- Jeff Smith, "Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume" (Cartoon Books, 1991-2004) graphic novel
"'Bone' is about three bone-like creatures that discover a whole new land, and their adventures there. It is a graphic novel and is very enjoyable to read."
-- "Dork Diaries" by Rachel Renee Russell (Aladdin, 2009) middle grade graphic novel
"'Dork Diaries' is a somewhat graphic novel. It is very funny, and captures everything about moving to a different city and switching schools."
-- "Luv Ya Bunches" by Lauren Miracle (Abrams, 2009) middle grade novel
"Luv Ya Bunches is a book of instant-messaging, and shows all the drama of fifth grade. The author, Lauren Myracle, does an outstanding job of showing this."
Summer reading suggestions for kids from the friendly youth services staff of the Flagstaff public library:
"Muncha, Muncha, Muncha" by Candace Fleming
"George, the Dragon and the Princess" by Chris Wormell
"Shark in the Park" by Nick Sharratt
"Elephant and Piggy" series by Mo Willems
Titles by Audrey and Don Wood such as" The Big Hungry Bear", "Heckedy Peg," "Silly Sally."
Eric Carle books
There are many beginning reader books that are in series format and are favorites for the early reader. Titles such as "The Biscuit" books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli; a comic book format for the beginning reader, "Benny and Penny" by Geoffrey Hayes; "Frog and Toad" by Arnold Lobel; "Henry and Mudge" by Cynthia Rylant; Amelia Bedelia titles by Peggy Parish and many others by Crosby Bonsall, Else Minarik and Marjorie Sharmat.
-- "Percy Jackson and the Olympians " by Rick Riordan
-- "Charlie Bone" series by Jenny Nimmo;
-- Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series
-- Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
-- Babymouse (graphic novel) by Jennifer Holm;
-- Andrew Clements books such as " Frindle"
-- The "Shredderman " books by Wendelin Van Draanen;
-- Mystery series "The Sisters Grimm"(Fairy Tale Detectives) by Michael Buckley and "Jigsaw Jones"
-- Books by James Preller
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-- Classic reads by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Kate DiCamillo and Matt Christopher.
-- Susan Beth Pfeffer's "Life as We Knew It", "The Dead and the Gone" and "This World We Live In" (sci-fi)
-- "Ironside"(A modern Faery's Tale) by Holly Black (sci-fi)
-- James Patterson's "Maximum Ride" series (sci-fi)
-- "The Redwall" series by Brian Jacques (sci-fi)
-- Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief"
-- "The boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba
-- "The Secret Garden" by Frances Burnett
-- Meg Cabot books
-- "Confessions of Georgia Nelson" series by Louise Rennison
-- Anthony Horowitz's" Alex Rider" series
-- "Ranma" series by Rumiko Takahashi (graphic novel)
-- Bisco Hatori's series "Ouran High School Host Club" (graphic novel)
Bookman's employee suggestions:
-- "Cardboard Universe, The: A Guide to the World of Phoebus K. Dank (P.S.)" by Christopher Miller
-- "Weathertop" by Jim Woodring
-- "Eating The Dinosaur" by Chuck Klosterman
-- "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace" by David Lipsky
-- "Ubik or Scanner Darkly" by Philip K Dick
-- "Bones Of The Moon" by Jonathan Carroll
-- "The Sea Came In At Midnight" by Steve Erickson
-- "I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!" by Fletcher Hanks
Angi Christiansen's suggestions:
-- "The Order of the Odd-Fish" by James Kennedy
-- "The Margarets" by Sheri S. Teper
-- "Dracula" by Bram Stoker
-- Anything by Diana Wynn Jones
-- "The Stand" by Stephen King
Desiree Ducharme's suggestions:
-- Any of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Ramona is a kid who is just a kid. No superpowers, no time travel, no magic, no vampires or life threatening situations, just one normal kid dealing with bullies, big sisters and parents. While mostly following the life of young Ramona, it is enjoyable read for boys and girls.
-- "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. Backyard adventures are necessary for all people, even adults.
-- "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfield. Thoroughly entertaining.
-- "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. This book sucks you into the exotic world of the Mayfair witches. Incest, intrigue, family secrets and drama it's serious brain candy.
-- "The Thorn Birds" by Colleen McCullough. If you haven't read this book, by it now and prepare to surrender your summer to Meggie's life. Wear sunblock and take time off to enjoy this epic story.
-- "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahame-Smith. I laughed out loud and was slightly nauseous. Funny, ridiculous and sure to provide you with water cooler chat for the next few months.
-- For everyone: "The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure" by William Goldman. There are several editions of this book and all of them are funny. The movie was good, but as with many adaptations, it falls short of capturing the full awesomeness of this book.
Pepe Meier's suggesions:
-- "Bite Me" by Christopher Moore
-- "Little Brother" by Cory Doctrow
-- "Wee Free Men" by Terry Pratchett
-- "Enchanted Forrest" series by Patricia Wrede
-- "Changeling Prince" by Vivian Vande Velde
Reuben Jolley's suggestions:
-- "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer
-- "The Raw Shark Texts" by Steven Hall
-- "What is the What" by Dave Eggers
-- "Bear V. Shark by Chris Bachelder
-- "2666" by Robert Bolano
Alex Gillman's suggestions:
-- "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby
-- "Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
-- "Wind-up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami
-- "Fool" by Christopher Moore
-- "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman
Comic book suggestions from Michael Fritschie:
-- "Walking Dead" by Robert Kirkman
-- "Kingdom Come" by Alex Ross
-- "Preacher" by Garth Ennis
-- "Astonishing X-men" by Joss Whedon
Alisha Knaff recommends:
-- "Blankets" by Craig Thompson
-- "Under the Tuscan Sun" by Frances Mayes
Scheduled summer reads for the Northern Arizona Women's Social Group book club:
-- "The Bookseller of Kabul" by Asne Seierstad
-- "Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott"
To join in the discussion about these books, join the Northern Arizona Women's Social Group on Facebook.