The Books of my Summer

Katherine Jenkins, Senior

As we advance deeper and deeper into fall, reflecting on the past season is inevitable. While summer is the perfect time to catch up on reading, it can also be chaotic and hard to find the time. My summer was amazing overall, but I did not find the time to read quite as much as I would have liked to. Even so, here is an overview of three of the books I read this summer and would highly recommend.

For many students, summer reading is dreaded because they are forced to choose from a list of books that may be uninteresting to them and do homework over the summer. Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is an example of a summer reading book I had the opposite reaction to. I began reading Austen’s works in the 8th grade, starting with, of course, Emma and Pride and Prejudice. While I loved both of these novels, as an 8th grader, I didn’t find them easy to understand. While my understanding of these works has improved greatly, I believe I would have benefited much more by starting out with Sense and Sensibility. The novel follows two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they are forced to relocate after their father’s death. They each continue on to find their own personal heartbreak and deal with it in their own ways. Sense and Sensibility, set in England’s Regency period, showcases the consequences of having too much sensibility.

I finished Austen’s Sense and Sensibility on a long plane ride, where all I did was read and play solitaire. With two hours left on the flight, I immediately started reading Finders Keepers, written by Stephen King, who is known for his particularly horrific novels and short stories. As someone who has always been a bit squeamish when it comes to horror, I was interested to see how I would react to one of his novels. Finders Keepers was brilliantly written, and while yes, the story’s antagonist murdered three people in the same minute, I did not find the novel to be very horrifying. The novel only started, for me, to be slightly anxiety-inducing, during the final few chapters. While the horror factor wasn’t what I expected, I enjoyed the plot of the story, which followed three different, but related perspectives: a man released from prison who murdered his literary idol, a teenage boy looking to help his family’s financial situation, and a former cop trying to keep the boy out of danger.

Sophia Slade, the author of the Vinyl trilogy, is an indie author and the winner of several Scholastic Art and Writing awards. Her book Nightstrider is her most recent release, funded by a kickstarter in June. In Nightstrider, Slade creates a fully developed fantasy world, in which the dream world is connected to the real world. The book is from several perspectives, including that of two different assassins created from the nightmares of the living. Using the tool of literary fantasy, Slade addresses several traumatic situations, as well as the toll they take on the victim’s behavior and mental health.

While I did not read nearly as much as I would have liked over the summer, I am glad that I had the time to read these three books. While a couple were not quite what I expected, I highly recommend each one to anyone looking for something to read during the coming seasons. Remember, making time to partake in activities such as reading is important, especially when we find ourselves overwhelmed with school.

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