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summer, books, kesey

Summer reading list

POSTED AT 07:07 PM ON Jun. 24, 2012 

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Summer, for me, is the only time of year when I’m able to sit around and do nothing, or, preferably, sit around and read things that are not textbooks or the other endless academic readings I print several forests’ worth off Oncourse
every semester.

That being said, it is a glorious time of year.

I’d like to share some of the non-textbook books I’ve read so far this summer, as well as some I plan to read before summer’s end.

Try out at least one of these books and you’re guaranteed to have a
happier summer.

Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible”:
Kingsolver might be considered “chick lit” by some, but her skillful telling of both actual history and a bizarre story in this novel proves her to be otherwise. I devoured this tale of an American Baptist missionary family in the Congo before and during the civil war of the early 1960s.

Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”:
If you haven’t read this classic yet, you need to — you won’t regret it. It’s a must-read for anyone who loves the wild, quick-paced language of the beat generation (though Kesey was a self-pronounced hippie-beatnik hybrid), anyone who has ever felt the slightest bit like an outcast or anyone who loves reading. Put simply, you don’t have a choice and therefore must read it.

Brooke Gladstone’s “The Influencing Machine”:
This book details a subject that might be boring to some people — the history of media in American democracy — in a marvelous format: graphic nonfiction.
I learned more about media from this book than from any other source and enjoyed it, largely because of Josh Neufeld’s funny and thought-provoking
illustrations. Also, I happen to be interested in the topic, which helped. Give it a read if you’ve ever abhorred news bias of any sort!

Dave Eggers’ “What Is the What”:
If you read “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”, or anything else by Dave Eggers, and loved it, read this. Eggers chronicles the story of a refugee from the decades-long Sudanese conflict in his usual, beautiful, self-effacing style.

Tom Robbins’ “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”:
Tom Robbins is the sort of writer who says a foreboding sky is “the color of Edgar Allan Poe’s pajamas,” who insists that “just because you’re naked doesn’t mean you’re sexy; just because you’re cynical doesn’t mean you’re cool” and tells readers “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
Throwing quotes at you can’t do justice to Robbins’ bizarre but accurate metaphors, keen wit and never-ending sense of existential crisis, so I suggest you pick up “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” — the tale of a young, beautiful, ambitious hitchhiker — and get to know him a bit yourself.

David Michaelis’ “Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography”:
This is a must read for anyone whose childhood obsession with “Peanuts” has blurred into adulthood. This 600-page biography tells you anything you’d ever want to know about the enigmatic figure of Schulz and the element of biography inherent in the strip.

­— ccleahy@indiana.edu

 

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