Summer time hasn't had much beach reading for me, but I've had plenty of airplane reading and since I'm home I've had playground reading while my kids play. I should be catching up on the big pile of professional development books that I bought last year but couldn't find the time to read - I really need to stop buying books until I read all the ones I have.
But that's not what I've done with my summer time. No - I've been reading fun books.
Uglies, Pretties, and Specials (The Uglies Trilogy) by Scott Westerfield. My husband had already read these and had them on his Kindle, so I took this with me on my trip. First - I really want a Kindle now. It was so nice to have a library of books at my fingertips while I traveled! I'm sold - the text is just like reading a book, no extra eyestrain - and you can buy a book you want in minutes without going anywhere! (OK - maybe that part would be dangerous for me).
Back to the books - they are young adult fiction, with all the simplistic language and low levels of emotional complexity that usually go with that. But for what they are, they are wonderful. The heroine is kick-ass, but makes plenty of mistakes and struggles with knowing what she wants in life. Normal teenage struggles of wanting to be pretty, believing you are unlovable the way you are, and needing to fit in with a group are magnified by the plot which takes it all and builds a dystopian future in which all 16 year olds undergo massive surgery to make them of average height and symmetrical features and average skin and hair tone and "Pretty". Until that age, they are known as "Uglies" and are not allowed out of the little ghetto known as "Uglyville".
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. This mystery novel started off very slow and dry, and I had trouble getting into it. I don't know if it's Larsson's writing style or the translation that made it so dry, but I actually felt like I was in a cold and snowy country reading the beginning of the book. Then the heroine finally moves into the plot, and she is an amazing character. Once she is involved in things, the pace picks up and there are some truly shocking scenes and real suspense. The last half of the book was an addictive page-turner.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I forgot that I had pre-ordered this in paperback, so a cheerful Amazon box was waiting for me when I got back from my trip. It's another YA, with yet another kick-ass female main character (I love these kick-ass girls - good counter measures to Bella Swan), and almost from page 1 this is a page-turner. The book is limited in time-frame and scope, being the story of kids who are forced by the tyrannical government of the future to enter a stadium and fight each other to the death. all televised like reality TV. The book felt cinematic, and it would make a great movie (in fact, I've already seen a couple movies with a very similar plot, most notably Battle Royale).
I seem to have quenched my thirst for fun fiction, and now I'm back to reading about Generational Theory and Zen and Comparative Religions and all that. But it was a fun summer reading fling while it lasted.