If you haven’t figured it out, I love to read. I might be a bit behind on my reading challenge, but I’m always down for a good book recommendation. My boyfriend is the same. He loves to read and usually gets through a book fairly quickly. I can’t read that fast or I feel like I’ve missed key elements to the story.
This past weekend while he was visiting I asked him about some of his favorite books and what he’d recommend to avid readers such as ourselves. He had to think about it a bit, most likely because he’s read so many books and doesn’t necessarily remember them all, but in the end he gave me five book recommendations and talked about one of his all time favorites.
Book 1: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
George Orwell writes about the years he spent in Spain during the 30s participating in the Spanish Civil War. The Nazi backed Franco Regime had an oppressive hold on the country and what we saw in Spain during the mid to late 30s was basically a small scale preview of WWII. Tyler read Homage to Catalonia while in Barcelona, and seeing the landmarks that George experienced while he was there really made the book come to life for him. Among Tyler’s other suggestions that are mostly fantasy and science fiction, this is a stand out read for anyone interested in history and nonfiction.
Book 2: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
Tyler describes this book as the epitome of the science fiction genre. In a future where human consciousness can be transferred into new, weaponized bodies and humanity has been exploring the farthest reaches of the galaxy, how does a regular guy fit in? The best part of this book is that it is the first in a series which Tyler enjoys reading and it even spawned a prequel series and a tangentially related series from one of the secondary characters, so you will never be left wishing there was another book. Series are convenient for the avid reader as it keeps the story, the fantasy or the foreign world alive for more than one book. Tyler enjoys series, as do I, because it’s even more books to read.
Book 3: A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
“This is a pretty cliche response I’m sure, but noteworthy all the same,” started Tyler. For many of you who may be a fan of the TV series you’re in for treat according to Tyler if you dare to pick up one of George R.R. Martin’s books. As Tyler says if you’ve only watched the show and never read any of the books, you’re really only getting a small fraction of the story. “You are not a real GOT fan if you have only watched the tv show.” Now this I have to slightly disagree with as I as well, have not yet read the large series. “The story in the book is bigger, has waaaaaaaay more plot lines, characters, and many of the items they do share actually pan out totally differently,” says Tyler. One of the best fantasy series he’s ever read, and he claims it’s worth the time it takes to get through the roughly 1000 pages in each book. I hope to one day get through the books as the TV series has come to an end.
Book 4: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson
Neil starts his book in the earliest measurable moments in the universe and explains how a tiny pinpoint of matter could become the complex universe we live in now. Tyler says the book is incredibly accessible, even for people with no math or science background and he loves the book because all of the material is presented in an interesting way that really makes learning, what in reality is some of the most advanced and challenging material from one of the newest, cutting edge fields of science, an enjoyable experience. “Neil has been bringing science to the masses through a variety of different mediums for years now, and this is yet another triumph for him.”
Book 5: Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan
Ranger’s Apprentice is set in a fictional medieval kingdom where there is a ranger, an elite warrior, charged by the king to live in and protect his fief (basically a state). The books follow a young orphan named Will as he is assigned to be the new apprentice ranger in his fief. Tyler especially likes these books because of the different perspective they give to the often-overused medieval setting. He explains that Rangers are not knights in shining armor protecting the honor of their citizens in all the traditional ways a medieval knight would, but rather smaller men, experts with bows and knives, who favor stealth to open combat. “It is a fresh and exciting look at the world, and the main character Will is someone who I connected with easily, and I suspect that many young men would feel the same way.” Despite the fantastical setting, many of Flanagan’s characters are incredibly detailed and real, which makes the story that much more enjoyable.
Bonus: An all-time favorite of Tylers: Origin by Dan Brown
Dan Brown’s latest novel takes the basic outline of many of his other most popular stories. We see the return of Robert Langdon from Angels and Demons, the DaVinci Code, and Inferno. Tyler describes Origin as, “by far, is his most ambition Langdon plot to date”, and he mixes the tantalizing technological future that we are on the precipice of reaching today with one of the most ancient questions that humanity has faced: how did life begin? You will see a pattern emerge in Tyler’s reading here, as one of the main setting of the book is, you guessed it, Barcelona. This was another book tha he read while visiting Barcelona a few summers ago, and again, reading it while he was there really enhanced the story. Tyler says the book is a good balance between nonfictional and fictional elements and a good read for people who may not be into the fantasy and science fiction genres.
Tyler’s taste in books is similar to my own and I’ve read a few that he’s recommended to me before. I hopefully will be able to take these recommendations as well and add them to my “To Read” list.
What book recommendations do you have for this summer?