With summer now visible on the horizon, and summer reading on our minds, we are fortunate that Summer herself agreed to share some of her own reading list with ShelfTalker readers.
Kenny: I know how busy late Spring is for you. Many thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Summer: I’m delighted to do so, Kenny.
Kenny: First off I have a question for you.
Summer: Why then, unburden yourself of it.
Kenny: Well, most readers refine their literary opinions, and make their book selections, at least in part, based on interactions with other readers. I know how well read you are but do you have the opportunity to discuss what you are reading with anyone, and if so who? Do you and the other three seasons have a reading group or anything like that?
Summer: We seasons don’t discuss books very often, but I certainly do engage in passionate conversation regarding what I’m reading with the Unchosen assigned to my service. I find those discussions to be most instructive, if not downright essential.
Kenny: The Unchosen? Who are they??
Summer: Ah, pardon. I forgot that you wouldn’t know about them. Hmmn. You must be aware that woodland animals, such as rabbits, mice, foxes, deer and so forth, who think and converse in human speech, are popular characters in fantasy novels.
Kenny: Of course.
Summer: There is an actual basis for that. You see, applying to be a Season is a high-risk, high-reward business. In order to apply for those four exalted positions, a binding contract must be signed. Part of that contract stipulates that those not successful in their bid to be a Season will be transformed into woodland animals who serve the successful candidate. These are the Unchosen.
Kenny: That’s kind of terrifying.
Summer: There are worse fates but it is a bit stiff. Still, they are indispensable. As far as your question goes I pass my books around to my servants and we meet regularly to discuss them.
Kenny: I see. Would it be possible to get some of the Unchosen’s summer reading picks before we hear yours?
Summer: Absolutely. You see that fox on the edge of the wood. Cedric, hoy.
Cedric: Greetings, Chosen.
Summer: This person would like to know what the top books for summer reading are among the Unchosen.
Cedric: I am happy to recount our favorites to you, kind person. I can do so here, or perhaps back in your country would be more convenient.
Summer: Nice Try!
Cedric: Sigh. Well then, as far as new books coming out this summer go I am most excited about Armada by Ernest Klein, the fellow who wrote Ready Player One. Aside from it being tremendously exciting and well crafted, its theme of applying intellect to conflict and overcoming the instinct to make bad decisions really spoke to us Unchosen. Don’t think you have to be trapped in the body of a woodland animal forever to love this book though. Anyone with an interest, in technology, gaming, classic science fiction movies, or just a good story will love Armada.
Kenny: Great to hear! Ready Player One was a real crossover title, is that true of Armada?
Cedric: Most definitely. Another favorite is Uprooted by Naomi Novik. A terrific fantasy and its theme of finding your way out of a seemingly inescapable problem is, umm, hopeful. For paperback releases an Unchosen favorite, The Magician’s Land, will be out. Making your own world as a means of entering or existing a fantasy gone wrong is a central theme of this magnificent, and hopefully useful book. As far as kids’ books go Cynthia Lord’s new one, A Handful of Stars, is just delightful, and its handling of the theme of migrant worker life really resonated with us. We’re also very excited about the new Dory Fantasmagory book coming out, Dory Fantasmagory and the Real True Friend, and we also recommend An Ember in the Ashes, with its exciting theme of slave revolt, and Circus Mirandus. Oh, and don’t miss The Golden Specific, S.E. Grove’s terrific sequel to The Glass Sentence. It describes an artifact of great interest to the Unchosen, a way finding map that takes you to your heart’s desire, far away from where you are trapped, that we have been searching for high and low.
Kenny: Thank you so much, Cedric, I wish you, umm, all the best with your summer reading. And what about your picks, Summer?
Summer: For me the it’s all about two books. For fiction Neil Stephenson’s Seveneves is my number one pick. Apart from being tremendous on many levels, its theme of people subjugating themselves to a communal enterprise built around a singular point of focus really spoke to me. For nonfiction Robert Kurson’s Pirate Hunters is the book for me. It’s theme of finding a sunken pirate ship by coming to understand and respect its Captain in his own terms, was both satisfying and thrilling.
Kenny: I see. Those are two of my favorites too, though I found other aspects of them equally appealing. What about some paperback releases and kids’ books?
Summer: Winter has told me that people like to read about me during his season, and, to return the favor, I’ll recommend Bill Roorbach’s Remedy for Love, with its tale of two unlikely people trapped together in a winter storm. There are two excellent young adult books coming out in paperback: Conversion by Katherine Howe, and Between The Spark and the Burn by April Tucholke, which I highly recommend.
Kenny: Thank you both so much.
Summer: You’re welcome.
Cedric: Don’t leave me here.