Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Reading Lists

18 Jul

When my children were in High School they had summer reading assignments. I was all —  I wish we had that when I was in school! They were all — meh! LOL! The problem really wasn’t that they were expected to read; I had made forced urged them to do that every summer of their school years. It was more the books that were on the list.

Summer is about to close for kids here in middle Georgia. My home county’s schools start in just 3 short weeks. At this point, my children would just now be cracking open their assigned books. And I would be threatening urging them to get to it. Would it have been different if I could have created the list with books that are entertaining, suspenseful, full of action and passion?  I like to think so.

So here are the books I would put on a summer reading list for High School-aged kids. My list is a mix of Classics and Christian fiction. What do you think?

Top Books for Summer Reading

American History — The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson
 
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize – winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable — the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.

American Literature — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century.

From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior-such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce-no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences — a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.

British History — The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

“One of the best mysteries of all time” (The New York Times)—Josephine Tey recreates one of history’s most famous — and vicious —crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction, now with a new introduction by Robert Barnard.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains—a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

The Daughter of Time is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing’s most gifted masters.

British Literature — The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The novel that T. S. Eliot called “the first, the longest, and the best of the modern English detective novels”

Guarded by three Brahmin priests, the Moonstone is a religious relic, the centerpiece in a sacred statue of the Hindu god of the moon. It is also a giant yellow diamond of enormous value, and its temptation is irresistible to the corrupt John Herncastle, a colonel in the British Army in India. After murdering the three guardian priests and bringing the diamond back to England with him, Herncastle bequeaths it to his niece, Rachel, knowing full well that danger will follow. True to its enigmatic nature, the Moonstone disappears from Rachel’s room on the night of her eighteenth birthday, igniting a mystery so intricate and thrilling it has set the standard for every crime novel of the past one hundred fifty years.

Widely recognized, alongside the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, as establishing many of the most enduring conventions of detective fiction, The Moonstone is Wilkie Collins’s masterwork and one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century.

Current Events — The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. Catastrophic floods have ravaged her countryside. But it is her father’s faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha’s well-being. Is Chung-Cha’s father right to be such a vocal believer? Or is he a fool to bring danger on the head of his only daughter? Chung-Cha is only a girl of twelve and is too young to answer such questions. Yet, she is not too young to face a life of imprisonment and forced labor. Her crime? Being the daughter of a political dissident.

The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Will Chung-Cha survive the horrors of Camp 22? And if she does survive, will her faith remain intact?

The Beloved Daughter is Alana Terry’s debut Christian novel and has won awards from Readers’ Favorite, Grace Awards, Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, and others.

Philosophy — The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil.

 

 

 

Physics — The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code—a roadmap of symbols—that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series—from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead—is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, adventure like no other.

Psychology — Strangers on A Train by Patricia Highsmith

“For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there’s no one like Patricia Highsmith.” ―Time

The world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. “Some people are better off dead,” Bruno remarks, “like your wife and my father, for instance.” As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith’s perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.

The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

World History — Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

A work of searing beauty, Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu pastor, and his son, Absalom. It is also the story of a land and a people riven by racial injustice, reflecting the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. The book is written with such keen compassion and understanding that the listener shares fully in the gravity of the characters situations. Alan Paton said of his book: “It is a song of love for one’s far distant country….” Thus, it is a tale that is passionately African while also being timeless and universal. But ultimately, Cry, the Beloved Country is a work of love and hope, of courage and tragedy, born of the dignity of man.

All School Read — The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Set against the turbulent years of the Napoleonic  era, Alexandre Dumas’s thrilling adventure story  is one of the most widely read romantic novels of  all time. In it the dashing young hero, Edmond  Dantès, is betrayed by his enemies and thrown  into a secret dungeon in the Chateau d’If — doomed  to spend his life in a dank prison cell. The story  of his long, intolerable years in captivity, his  miraculous escape, and his carefully wrought  revenge creates a dramatic tale of mystery and intrigue  and paints a vision of France — a dazzling,  dueling, exuberant France — that has become immortal.  

 

 

What books would you include on a Summer Reading List?

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6 Responses to “Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Reading Lists”

  1. nissa_loves_cats July 18, 2017 at 8:14 am #

    We didn’t have summer assignments way back when I was in school. I guess back then they thought we would be too busy running away from dinosaurs. But your list sounds like it’s well worth reading. I will have to see if the local library carries these books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rbclibrary July 18, 2017 at 8:18 am #

      Hope you find one to enjoy. And yes, dinosaurs are certainly distracting! LOL!

      Like

  2. Paula July 18, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    Those all look fantastic. I am familiar with most of them and the others sound intriguing. Good job! I will have to add these to my growing TBR pile!

    Like

  3. Becky July 18, 2017 at 8:32 am #

    I love that you include Daughter of Time!!! That is one of my favorite books 😉 I also enjoyed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Moonstone.

    Like

    • rbclibrary July 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

      I think Tey’s book is fabulous. One of the greatest mysteries of all time.

      Like

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