The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 13, 2007


Harry Potter and Discovering Moths: What are you reading this summer?

Editor's note: We asked writers of occasional columns at the Mosquito to suggest books for your summer vacation. Some of our writers declined, pleading that their reading is restricted to professional books and journals, leaving no time to curl up with fun reading. Others sent the following recommendations. Happy reading!

Kay Fairweather, Biodiversity Corner writer, recommends:

Return to the City of White Donkey by James Tate

This book of poems is not just for the poetry lover. James Tate is a master of the prose poem, having won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Anyone who would enjoy a very short story (each one is about a page) and particularly those who enjoy the off-beat, surreal or quirky side of life (make that ultra-quirky) should appreciate this collection.

The Last Gentleman Adventurer: Coming of Age in the Arctic by Edward Beauclerk Maurice

This is a memoir of a young man's adventure in the Arctic. Prospects were bleak in England in the 1930s and while all the rest of his family emigrated to New Zealand, the teenage Maurice signed on as an apprentice to the Hudson Bay Company and shipped out to a remote spot in the Canadian Arctic. The job description of clerk in a trading station had failed to mention roles as doctor, policeman, banker, and hunter. His story tells of the Inuit way of life, how he coped with the challenging responsibilities, and how he survived the harsh conditions. Shut off the air-conditioner — this is vivid enough to cool a hot August night.

Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard by John Himmelman

If you want to understand more about the lives and times of moths, this book is a great place to start and these hot summer nights replete with moths make a great time to start. The information is presented from a naturalist's point of view rather than a scientist's. The author wants you to share his passion. The book has lots of drawings and color photos but is not a field guide.

Carrie Abend, CCHS correspondent, recommends:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
A touching book about an autistic boy after the loss of his father in 9/11. After finding a key that may be linked to his dad, nine-year-old Oskar travels throughout New York City searching for answers. Completely thought-provoking, it's one of those books you need to clear an afternoon to read cover-to-cover: the author leaves you no other choice. Written from different points of view and with cryptic illustrations, it absolutely captivates and makes you wish it were three times as long.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A fictional story based on the non-fictional horrors of modern day Afghanistan. Like a train wreck, you can't tear your eyes off of, Hosseini builds up the complex characters with messed-up lives, completely drawing you into the twisted plot. This is the only book I've ever been glad to read in English class. Makes you want to call all your friends and tell them to read it, just so you can obsess over how incredible it was.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Come on, Harry Potter is amazing. You know you loved books one through six; don't be ashamed about wanting to see how it all ends. If you have kids, this is a must-have, if not a must-read. God knows (almost) every kid in Carlisle will have pre-ordered it and finished it by noon the day it comes out, so don't be too far behind! It's the end of a fantastic era and you should be there!

Penny Zezima, writer of The Scenic Route, recommends:

In the Woods by Tana French

This first novel is a mystery set outside Dublin, which brings the victim of an earlier crime, who is now a police detective, face-to-face with a similar crime, and so his past secrets begin to shake loose. The story is told with a sure voice and a breezy style that draws you into an ever darker tale.

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber

Everywhere I turn, this book is on people's recommended reading lists. If you like the thrill of a DaVinci Code, mixed with literate writing, antiquarian booksellers and Shakespeare, this book has to go on vacation with you. I dare you to figure this one out!

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden

Two brothers have put together the lore and learning from our childhoods and shared it with today's youth. Remember how to make the best paper airplane? Do you recall the difference between pirate flags? The book is a collector's item, if only for its list of books every boy must read and poems every boy should memorize. Don't miss the chapter on "Girls." Priceless.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito