Saturday 19 May 2012

Summer Reading Suggestions

By Eric Hanna, S.J.

A friend of mine recently asked me if I could recommend some summer reading for her. I'm a big fiction and fantasy fan so I came up with five novels that made a big impression on me when I read them. I include them here for your perusal, along with brief summaries to get you interested. Why not try something new?

Diamond Age: A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
By Neil Stephenson
Description: A future in which the technology exists to manufacture matter at the molecular level, where societies intentionally engineer themselves according to models of value, and in which a little girl in the poor district learns to become an intrepid heroine through accidentally discovering an interactive program designed to teach Victorian culture.

The Brothers Karamazov
By Dostoevsky
Description: A father and three brothers model different aspects of the human soul in a search to overcome human pride and discover God. A book that truly does justice to the genuine human struggle and difficulty in doing good as well as the genuine grace that helps us in ways we don't fully understand.

The Lathe of Heaven
By Ursula K. LeGuin
Description: A metaphor for the battle between the subconscious and the rational mind personified in a psychoanalyst's patient who insists that his dreams have the power to change reality. This book is a fascinating exploration of how human patterns of thinking intentionally and unintentionally shape the world around us.

The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaimon
Description: A young boy learns about life, raised from a baby by the ghosts and other friendly undead creatures of the local graveyard. An homage to The Jungle Book with a fun and sometimes wicked sense of humour. The story is also a poignant exploration of the theme that were are made most human and most alive by reconciling ourselves with mortality.

By Frank Herbert
Description: A large-scale politico-economic epic about a lost prince on a desert planet. This is one of the great classics of science fiction literature and explores not only how technology but how social structures shape human self-understanding. An intricate, descriptive, and fantastical story that may, in the end, be a cautionary tale about the corruption of power.

I hope you are intrigued enough to crack one of these books open. These are the kind of novels that can change the way you think about life.

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