The IHE Summer Fiction Book Club

What novels did you read this summer?

August 28, 2014

Grab all those novels from your nightstand, pull up your Amazon orders, and review your library fiction borrowing history. 

It's time for the IHE summer fiction book club to commence.

I’m in the middle of reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer. So far so good, just the sort of near future semi-techno big idea driven story that I like.

I’m also reading (sort of slowly) Outlander: A Novel by Diana Gabaldon. This book (and series) seems to have gone somewhat viral on campus - I got swept up in the excitement.

Dear Committee Members: A novel by Julie Schumacher should be on your reading list if you fall into any of the following categories: a. You are a fan of the academic farce. b. You work in higher ed. c. You write or receive letters of recommendation. d. You don’t mind laughing out loud while reading.

The Magician's Land: A Novel (The Magicians Book 3) by Lev Grossman will having you seeing magic everywhere. This is a novel (and trilogy) that will seriously warp your sense reality. Why more authors don’t write serious (and sarcastic) novels that feature characters with magical abilities is beyond my understanding. A bonus is that Grossman is clearly a book (and library) geek.  Just wonderful.

The Director: A Novel by David Ignatius is probably the summer’s best espionage / thriller / technology hybrid read.  Ignatius, a reporter for the Washington Post, is clearly an expert on the culture and organization of the U.S. intelligence gathering complex.  The author makes the smart decision to have the bad guys be hackers, making the book instantly appealing to every university cyber security specialist on the planet.  

The Destroyed (A Jonathan Quinn Novel Book 5) by Brett Battles is a book that I think I bought because it was a $4.99 Kindle special. Rarely do I buy books solely based on price, as the opportunity costs for reading (in time) drive my calculations on what to read. I’m happy to report that this would have been a good summer book at whatever the price. How can you not love a book where the central character makes his living by disposing of bodies (and not in an undertaker sort of way).  

I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller by Terry Hayes definitely gives The Director a run for its money for the summer must read beach thriller.  Less techno, more biological (as in bio-terroists), I Am Pilgrim would definitely qualify as a page-turner if only I knew what the equivalent of a page-turner was for an audiobook.  

Rogue Code is, I’m happy to report, Mark Russinovich’s best novel by far.  I have a soft spot for Mark, as he is both a Microsoft Technical Fellow (in the Cloud and Enterprise Division no less), and the author of some excellent techno-thrillers.  Rogue Code is another summer book where the bad guys are Brazilian hackers, this time intent on disrupting the IPO process of the next ridiculously overpriced social network while stealing billions in the process.  Think Flash Boys munged with organized crime and dashing cyber-security specialists.

I’m guessing that I’m not quite the usual demographic that reads books like Sniper's Honor: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel by Stephen Hunter.  This is a Red State book, and I’m super afraid of guns.  I recommend that you join me in stepping outside of your comfort zone and become a fan of Stephen Hunter.  Sniper’s Honor pulls off the neat trick of jumping back and forth between World War II and the present day, managing to make the past and the current story intertwine and thrill in its telling.

The next novel that I think I’ll read is Lock In by John Scalzi.  Anyone else planning of picking this one up?

What fiction do you recommend squeezing in before the final end of the summer reading season?

What were your favorite novels of the summer?


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