This post was intended to be a simple list of summer reading suggestions, but as I flipped through the pages of the books listed below I had a different idea pop into my head and made some last additions/changes. I won’t spoil anything, but I did want to say that a good book is always so much more than just the words on the page.
One of the first things they teach you in Writing 101 is to know who your audience is. Meaning you should know who you are directing your message at. It’s common sense, but you’d be surprised how often it’s forgotten. Recently, I heard a slight variation on this that stuck with me — always write to someone.
It sounds like the same idea at first, but it’s basically the difference between a marketing email and a love letter. One is meant to deliver a message and the other is meant to convey emotion.
Writing to someone is personal, there’s an honesty that sneaks into your writing whether you realize it or not. If you do it right, there’s a sincerity that is universal and connects not just to that someone, but with a broader audience.
It’s something that all three of my summer reading suggestions and my own reading list have in common. They are all dedicated in their own way to someone, and it shows. They’re also all based in fantasy and mythology, so if that’s not your jam you’re going to have to look elsewhere (sorry).
Without further ado, some summer reading suggestions and their dedications (because I’m feeling exceptionally sappy) as well as my own summer reading to-do list (please don’t judge me)…
“Circe” by Madeline Miller
A mix of mythology and magic with some serious feminist themes, this novel flips the Odyssey on its head. Told from the perspective of Circe (she’s the one who turns the sailors into pigs), a nymph and daughter of Helios, this isn’t the Greek mythology you were forced to read in school. It’s a sweeping, epic romance filled with love, loss, and adventure. (Side note: It also put Miller’s debut novel “The Song of Achilles” on my reading-list radar.)
“The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien
There isn’t actually a dedication in the book, but it’s widely known that “The Hobbit” was originally a story for Tolkien’s children…those were some lucky kids.
Yes, all three books. Fun fact, “The Lord of the Rings” is not actually a trilogy, it’s one work that was broken into three parts for publishing purposes. So, you can’t just read one. I mean, you can but you’d be missing the epic magic that is Tolkien’s work. Although, if forced to choose I would go with “The Return of the King.” Partially because it has some of my favorite moments–Eowyn kicking ass and taking names, the oathbreakers, the scouring of the Shire–but mostly I’m choosing it because you have to read the first two books for it to have its full impact. In conclusion, you have to read all three. (Bonus points for reading “The Hobbit” too)
“A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin
this one is for Melinda
After my whole thing about reading the entire Tolkien trilogy you may wonder why I chose only to include the first book of “A Song of Fire and Ice,” and if you weren’t, you are now. So, I’m just going to say it…I’ve only read the first book. Feel free to judge me all you want, I assure you I have and will continue to judge myself more than anyone else possibly could. It is my great shame.
I’m currently rereading “A Game of Thrones,” and can honestly say that it’s just as wonderful as I remember. I look forward to enjoying the entire series as it was intended. In fact, the remaining four books are my summer reading list. If you see me with another book in my hands this summer you have my permission to give me all the grief and sass you want.
On that note, I’ll leave you to get back to work and enjoy this final day of spring. See you on the flipside.
(P.S. — If you caught the connection between the title and the legends/mythology summer reading list, you’re awesome…and we’re now best friends.)
…just for fun:
Is this in “A Storm of Swords”? Wait, don’t tell me. I want to be surprised…