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Summer Reading, Had Me a Blast

Paws to Read adult summer reading program prizes

Click for a closer look at the corgi cuteness.

Last summer, the U. S. Air Force Europe Library had a summer reading program for adults, and I decided to sign up. The theme of the program was Paws to Read, which I thought was pretty cute. For each book I read and reviewed between the opening date in June and the ending June 26, up to three books, I could get one prize.

Somehow, despite having two grad school classes, I managed to read all three. Perhaps I managed it because the school I had worked at was out for the summer. I got a book tote with a paw on it, a kitty stress ball, and a Paws to Read bookmark, which was my personal favorite since it had a corgi on it. The only way it would have been better is if the corgi had been a tricolor one like mine.

I barely squeaked by, finishing my last book on the last day of the program. Unfortunately I can’t wholeheartedly recommend all three of the books I read, however I did enjoy all three of them to varying degrees.

The Books

Alice in Wonderland (3rd Norton Critical Ed.) by Lewis Carroll
This edition of the book contains Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking GlassThe Hunting of the Snark, biographical information about Lewis Carroll, and critical essays. The original illustrations for the stories are also included. Footnotes throughout the book explained words that readers in Carroll’s time would have recognized but which are no longer in common usage and historical points to help put the story in context. I appreciate the inclusion of this information. While one could opt to skip the essays, I found it interesting to get a broader understanding of the author and what people took from his works.

Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick
My initial knowledge of Tesla’s life was limited, so I learned some things about him I did not know before reading this book. The information presented about him was more of a highlight reel of his life than a full biography though. I liked the intro about imagination and intelligence, but that part of the book took up almost as much as the part about Tesla such that it kind of felt like the whole book was a teaser to another book of the author’s called Awakening Your Inner Genius, which was advertised in the book. I did enjoy the style of this book, and it was a quick read. I got through it in about an hour. Since it was free, and still is, it was at least worth checking out.

The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World by Nancy Jo Sales
I wanted to love this book, especially since it was one of the ones Martha of I’d Rather Be Reading sent me. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I did at least find it to be an enjoyable time-killer and an acceptable choice for the conclusion of the summer reading program. I wouldn’t have been able to get through a weightier book in the time I had left in the reading program, so I was glad this one was there to fill the void and provide some entertainment and a peek into how a few celebrity-obsessed kids stole from the celebrities they admired and became pseud0-celebreties themselves in the process. There were also some interesting facts from researchers connected to how people view fame. If I’d had a beach nearby or a plane ride to take, The Bling Ring would have been a good book for that. As it was,  think I read some of it in a bubble bath, and it’s always good to have a book entertaining enough to do that but not amazing enough that I’d cry if I dropped it (which I’ve done before, though not with this book).

What I’m Reading This Summer

Although I didn’t participate in a reading program this summer, I have been making more of an effort to read since graduation. So far I’ve read The Alchemist and Warrior of the Light, both by Paulo Coelho, and How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes. I’ll probably come back to tell you about those and others I read this summer in a later post. In the meantime, you can keep up with my books and ratings on Goodreads.

I currently have several books in progress but am most actively reading The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. Coincidentally, this is another one Martha sent me. I was skeptical because I remember reading Thunderstruck by the same author several years back and not caring much for it. However, so far The Devil in the White City has been a fast-paced and interesting read, combining the history of the World’s Fair and the story of a serial killer who was active in the area at the time.

What are you reading this summer? Let me know in the comments below.

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6 Thoughts on “Summer Reading, Had Me a Blast

  1. trenna on August 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm said:

    I am not even half of my summer list read! I guess I better take some time off and read! https://hellogoditisme.wordpress.com/

  2. I just finished the fourth book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series (fun, light summer read), and started on Christopher Moore’s “The Stupidest Angle”. My favorite book of the summer was, “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” Incredible, tear-jerking, uplifting story that — because it’s told from the dog’s perspective — will forever change the way you think about your own interactions with your pets. It was great!
    Melissa recently posted…5 Things I Loved and Hated at the Aparthotel PinasolMy Profile

    • I have only read the first book in the No 1. Ladies Detective Agency series, but I enjoyed it. I haven’t heard of The Stupidest Angel before, but it sounds cute. As someone who talks for (rather than just to) my pets, imagining what their expressions and so forth would be verbalized as, The Art of Racing the Rain sounds like it would be up my alley. Thanks for sharing. 😀

  3. I’ve been struggling to find time to read too! I’m interested to see what you think of the Matt Kepnes book, I think I added that to my TBR list recently.

    I haven’t read Thunderstruck, but it doesn’t sound all that interesting :/ I guess maybe shipping doesn’t appeal to me as much as the World’s Fair? Not sure! I am trying to read more nonfiction and true crime/exposes though.
    Martha recently posted…Company to check out: the Healthy Home CompanyMy Profile

    • I need to flip back through it and do a review. I gave it 3 stars. It’s informative, but kind of repetitive. On the other hand, he means for you to be able to flip to specific sections without having read other sections, so some of the repetition makes sense.

      I ended up getting Thunderstruck accidentally when I forgot to make selections for a book thing I was in where they’d automatically send their pick for the month if you didn’t pick your own. I thought it could have been interesting but just remember it being a slog. I wondered if it was just me, as that was about a decade ago, but then I read some reviews on it by people who had read Devil in the White City, and they all said Thunderstruck wasn’t as good.

      I have been gravitating more toward nonfiction lately as well.

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