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Our Summer 2011 Fun Books?
August 29, 2011 - 7:30pm

What fun books did you read this summer? Books that do not relate to education, learning, or technology? Books that do not help us re-invent, re-engineer, or re-mix higher ed? What fun book should we add to our late summer reading list?

My list, in order of most recently read:

Innocent by Scott Turow
Format: Kindle
I'm only 55% through Innocent, so don't spoil the ending. Actually, I'd rather be reading Innocent now than writing this blog - as I'm dying to know who killed Barbara Sabich.

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The Magician King: A Novel by Lev Grossman
Format: Audiobook
Even better than the Magicians. (Although you should read them both, one after the other, if you have not found your way to Quentin Coldwater's world yet). The fact that Grossman writes for Time magazine is almost enough to make we want to subscribe.

If you are going to start anywhere with Audible, start with The Magician King. Mark Bramhill will convince you that computer generated narration will never come close to the performance of a skilled audiobook performer.

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A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Format: Audiobook
Egan's book seems to be on everyone's "must read" list - and for good reason. She can flat out write. The intertwined stories of music industry insiders, outsiders and their families is engaging, and the shifting time perspectives and points of view is always invigorating. Goon Squad is probably the best place to start if you want to maximize your chances of book clubbing with a colleague.

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The Informationist: A Thriller by Taylor Stevens
Format: Kindle
Pure escapist trash - and I say this is a good way. I'm a sucker for strong women (you should meet the real Dr. Kim), so the plot holes, over the top violence, and marginal writing really didn't bother me. I nominate "The Informationist" for the best book title of 2011 (which of us wouldn't want that title on our business cards) - the book might go down hill from the title page - but that is no reason to avoid this good trashy fun.

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Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart
Format: Audiobook
The only book on my summer fun list that is not fiction. Included because Wicked Bugs is sort of a hybrid - more of a cookbook or a list than anything resembling narrative nonfiction. Stewart basically summarizes every disgusting, poisonous, disease spreading, and gross things that bugs do to people. The list is long and delightful. Mystery writers should keep Wicked Bugs available for reference, as bugs turn out to be great murder weapons. Fun book, I don't recommend listening to the audio version before falling asleep (as this book will give you creepy crawly dreams).

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The Lock Artist: A Novel by Steve Hamilton
Format: Kindle
Great premise. A mute, young, brilliant, and emotionally damaged thief whose sole power is the ability to open any safe. Who amongst us hasn't thought how cool it would be to leave academia for the world of safe cracking? The technical descriptions of the inner workings of safe locks is probably the highlight of the book, but the story is pretty good and time spent with the lock artist is mostly diverting.

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Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich
Format: Paperback

At this point, reading Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series probably counts as a psychiatric addiction. As soon as number 17 (Smokin' Seventeen) is in paperback I'll probably find myself purchasing and reading. I actually have a fondness for these books for a couple of reasons. The first is that my Dad grew up not so far from where Stephanie Plum lives, and the second is that Evanovich used to live in the same small town that I currently reside. Really the ultimate in beach books - enjoy with very little of your brain turned on.

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The Privileges: A Novel by Jonathan Dee
Format: Kindle
A story of upper-middle class urban dweller young adult angst that never quite manages to launch. Great first chapter (which I downloaded as a Kindle sample), and then very uneven from there. I can't recommend this book, but I like the general genre and would be interested in your recommendations.

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Your turn.

What was your fun reading this summer? What do you recommend?

What do you plan to read next? (I'm planning to read The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta).

 

 

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