Summer Reads

10:46 AM

I know summer isn't officially over until September 23rd, but I always feel that once the school year starts, we can welcome autumn. So, I figured I would do a little post on the books I read over the summer. I used to do one book review post per book, but I never knew how to do them properly. I was an English major, I am used to really getting into the details of a novel, and therefore would struggle with giving too much away. 

Then, I started to just give the "back-flap" summery, and those posts didn't really feel worthwhile. So instead I thought I would just lump all of the books I read together, give a very short summery, and wither or not I liked it. Keeping it simple seems to be the best way to go about this, so here it goes!


The Oregon Trail- First up we have a book that I wasn't entirely sure if I would like. The Oregon Trail is the gripping account of the author Francis Parkman's journey west across North America in 1846. The bulk of the story is how he sets out with three companions on a horseback journey that would ultimately take him over 2,000 miles. 

I had a hard time recounting what this book was about, as I actually read it in the late spring. However, it was very simply written, and pretty interesting once I realized that it was basically the personal diary of the author. Granted, I am not entirely sure how much of the story could have been altered if he had the intentions of profiting off of this account, but nothing really stood out as extreme, and the frustration at times came off as believable. 

Little Dorrit- By Charles Dickens, is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period (originally published 1855-1857). The focal point of this novel was on the debtor's prisons, in which people who owed money, were imprisoned-therefore unable to work, until their debts were paid. Dickens's own father was imprisoned in the one featured in this novel, giving the story some personal flavor. There is also a blossoming love story involved, to help aide in the personal lives of those the debtors prison affects. 

Despite the thick spine of this novel, it seemed to move along pretty quickly.The satire was really great, and the characters well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. 

Atonement- By Ian McEwan, is a British family saga novel, about the understanding and responding to the need for atonement. Set in three time periods, 1935 England, World War II set in England and France, and present day England, it covers a young upper-class girl's half-innocent mistake that ruins lives, her adulthood in the shadow of that mistake and a reflection on the nature of writing. 

I am so glad that I completely forgot that I saw this movie when it came out, because this book was very captivating. I think the character development is what is really key in this novel, as it is relatively short, but covers so much. 


The Nanny Diaries- By Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, both who are former nannies. The book satires upper class Manhattan as seen through the eyes of their children's caregivers.

Okay, this movie I remember seeing, but not the specific details. As in most cases, the book is better by far. The major difference being that in the movie, the main character Nanny is a post-grad who just takes a nanny job because she does not know what to do with herself. In the book, Nanny is still in school and majoring in child development. I think this is important to note because this character has a passion for working with children that the movie character just doesn't portray correctly. The satire in the novel is amazing, and situations that Nanny goes through redefine both 'stressful' and 'awkward'. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- By J.K. Rowling, is the first novel in the Harry Potter series. The plot follows Harry, a young wizard who discovers his magical heritage, as he makes close friends and a few enemies in his first year at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. With the help of his friends, Harry faces an attempted comeback  by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents when he was just one year old.

Every once in awhile I feel the need to revisit these books, and I am glad that I did. I really had the chance to remember accurate details that the movies changed, and it was nice to see characters in their true form once again. 

The Cuckoo's Calling- By J.K. Rowling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is a crime-fiction novel. A private investigator is hired by the adopted brother of a famous supermodel. The supermodel supposedly died of a suicide, but the brother suspects foul play.

This is not my preferred genre, but I can say that I quickly loved the characters as they were introduced. There were a lot of smaller characters that I had a hard time keeping track of, but the story itself was well-written, and interesting. The novel only takes place over about a month, but there is some great character development, and the story is a fast read. 


So there you have it, my summer reads. I tried my best to balance some classic literature with some lighter stuff, and I think it went pretty well. Have you guys read any of these books, and what did you think? What were your favorite summer reads? 

Happy Friday guys!

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6 Musings

  1. Wow! You read a lot more than I did this summer, I didn't do so well with reading! I did finish that Jim Henson biography though so I guess that was something!

  2. ...what is this read a book thing? I haven't read a book since school. Too lazy and I forget too easily awesome that you read a lot :)

  3. Sara, these are page turners! I want to read Atonement, little dorritt and nanny diaries. I just purchased some Paris inspired books but I've got to get the ones you mentioned. Love the storylines.

  4. Not an English major, but I too struggle with doing book reviews. I tend to get too excited & end up revealing everything except the ending (sometimes I give that away too).

    I enjoyed Atonement the movie, but haven't gotten around to reading the book. Adding it to my list!

    I just reread the series for the first time since starting it back in 199(whatever year I was turning 8). They were my summer reads. I just remembered that I have Rowling's other book The Casual Vacancy & never read it. I'd forgotten she'd written another one under a pseudonym.

  5. SO excited to see that you loved 'The Cuckoo's Calling'! Rowling can succeed at any genre she puts her mind to. Also...The Nanny Diaries + Harry Potter. YES!!

    P.S. I saw a hoodie at Target yesterday that had cat heads/faces all over it. You may need it. :D


  6. Good for you for doing all that reading! I read the nanny diaries when that book first came out and i'm still trying to get through Harry Potter that I started three years ago - I'm a weirdo.

    I think it's awesome you read so much!



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