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What we'll read over the summer


Of Beetles and Angels, by Mawi Asgedom

When I was told to write this article, I honestly had no idea what next year’s summer reading was going to be about. Of Beetles and Angels by Mawi Asgedom: Was it about beetles, or angels, or both? Turns out, it’s not really about either. Instead, the book is an autobiography covering Asgedom’s journey from war-torn Ethiopia to Harvard University. Prepare to laugh and cry while reading this book, which captures the spirit of different communities around the world.
An inspirational story about overcoming obstacles and determination, this book is a lesson for all on what it means to be human.

The Idiot, by Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman’s The Idiot is one of the funniest books you’ll read all year round. Ever since its release in March, the book has received high praise from the New York Times, GQ, and many authors. And it’s not very hard to see why it gained so much success.
The novel is a light-hearted account of self-discovery through the eyes of a student at Harvard University. The book begins in 1995 and, Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives at Harvard University to begin her studies. The rest of the book follows a first hand account of the people Selin meets and the allure of foreign adventure she is exposed to.

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

If you’ve watched The Big Bang Theory on TV or want something lighthearted but thought-provoking to read, The Rosie Project is the perfect book for you. This 2013 novel has garnered enough attention to land a movie deal with Sony Pictures. The Rosie Project tells the story of Don Tillman, an Australian genetics professor, who will do whatever it takes to find love. After failing time and time again however, Don meets Rosie. The two than go on to try to find the identity of Rosie’s father, a project they dubbed the “Father Project”. The story has a healthy balance of humor and cliche, functioning as a light and entertaining summer read.

Universal Harvester, by John Darnielle

John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester will go down as one of the most intense and yet truly daring works of writing I have read. Darnielle captivates the reader’s attention from the very beginning of the novel with a sense of danger and urgency that not many authors would be able to do effectively. The story takes place in the 1990s before DVDs came into being. These were the days of Video Huts and other ancient devices. The reader is first introduced to Jeremy, an employee at a Video Hut in a small town. The novel progresses into an eerie undertone when a customer returns with a complaint in her copy of Targets. She leaves without saying what the problem actually was, leaving Jeremy by saying “There’s something in it.” When Jeremy watches the tapes himself, in the middle of She’s All That, the screen blanks and starts showing images of contorted bodies tied up. From there on, Universal Harvester tells different stories in different sequential orders detailing the effect on the community. For Darnielle’s second novel, the book was extremely well written and I would strongly recommend it to make your summer reading haul this year.

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