Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Recommendations

After a considerable reading drought and a serious craving for a good summer read, I have a few come up with a few recommendations.  The first is Ree Drummond's Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.  I am a Pioneer Woman enthusiast.  Stalking her blog on a daily basis makes me want to move to the country and grow my own vegetables.  I've perused her cookbook and while I cook from her recipes online on almost a weekly basis and I love the pictures in her cookbook, it was something I could live without.  But then, a few days ago on another trip to The Tattered Cover I saw it!  It was sitting on the edge of a stair up to the second floor of this fabled book palace.  Black Heels to Tractor Wheels with a beautiful silver sticker on the cover indicating that it was an autographed copy!  I stumbled, almost quite literally on the Pioneer Woman's book.  I sat down right there on the stairs and started reading.  Ree's writing style is lovely and light and having never been on a date with a cowboy myself, I was looking at my rather urban boyfriend picturing what he'd look like in a pair of boots and wranglers.  I devoured this delightful read in about 48 hours with out of town guests hampering my reading time.  I smiled all the way through and am now fantasizing my move to a bucolic paradise.

The next on my suggestion list for you is The Help.  I read it maybe one or two summers ago and being a daughter of the South, I found this novel funny, entertaining, and hitting a little close to home.  Now that it is coming to the silver screen I highly recommend it is an entertaining summer read.  The novel does tap into a few of the Southern cliche's and issues of racial tension that have characterized the South for so many years but it doesn't fall into these ruts for long.  There is much too much character drama to dwell in the shortcomings of our Southern heritage for long. 

The last recommendation on my short list for you this evening is Water for Elephants.  Another novel that has made its way to the big screen. Water for Elephants is full of romance, action, and a few terrible scenes of animal abuse.  But the abuse only endears our hero to us all the more.  I opted not to read this book on the recommendation of my mother for a few years because I didn't think I could handle the sad scenes of an elephant bearing the blows of a paranoid schizophrenic.  After mustering the courage I found it wasn't too graphic for my taste.  By the time I finished this book I actually was wishing for more.

I confess I have not seen either of the movies of the books I suggest, but as is true with 99.9% of novels turned to movie, the book is always better.  There are only two books that I have ever read that I feel fall into the other .1% and they are Last of the Mohicans and Cold Mountain.  Being an AP English teacher though, I have taught Cold Mountain and therefore read it at least 5 times now.  I am happy to say that every time I read that novel I fall more and more in love with it.  I don't know what that makes my percentage now.  After all, I'm an English teacher not a math wiz. 

Enjoy these light summer reads and share a few of your favorite summer time novels with the rest of us!

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