Dear Barb – What to read…

Dear Barb,

My fiancé and I are graduating from university this year. We have been studying really hard and reading only textbooks for years. This summer we have decided to rent a cottage at the lake for the month of July. While there, we would like to catch up on our reading. Can you recommend any books? We both have very expansive interests so I can’t really say any specific type of books that we would like to read, although I tend to like a good mystery and my boyfriend enjoys adventure books. Thanks Barb, we’ll be watching your column for your suggestions.

Bonita in Kelowna, B.C.

Hi Bonita, thanks for writing. I know how you feel. Reading textbooks seems to deplete your love for reading. As a result, the last thing you want to do during your free time is to pick-up a book. Now that you have graduated (by the way, congratulations!), I have some suggestions that I hope will assist you and your fiancé in getting caught-up on your reading. Unfortunately, I can’t say I have read any of these books, because I am still too consumed with reading textbooks to be able to afford the time to read for pleasure. Although, when I have the time the following books will be on my list.

Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Roméo Dallaire. Published by Random House, October 2004. Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award 2004 – Non Fiction. Definitely a worthwhile read. It is the unforgettable retelling of the genocide in Rwanda as told by Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, the man who lead the peacekeeping mission in 1993.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. Published by Knof Canada, April 2004. Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award 2004 – Fiction. A heartbreakingly sad and hilariously funny story of a young Mennonite girl’s struggle to grow-up. A coming of age story of young Nomi, whose journey is further complicated as she tries to unravel the mystery of why her mother and sister went missing.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Published by Pocket Star Books, June 2001. Fiction. A fast-paced mystery/adventure that has recently been compared to The Da Vinci Code written by the same author. In Angels and Demons, a famous symbologist Robert Langdon joins forces with a beautiful scientist; their mission is to try to save the Vatican from a time bomb.

No summer reading list is complete without the amazing Harry Potter. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling is scheduled for release on July 16, 2005.

This is the much-anticipated sixth book in the best-selling Harry Potter series. The story continues with Harry’s sixth year at “Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” as the battle between good and evil persists. We’ll have to wait for its release to learn more.

One more book that I feel would be a fun book to read is Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Published by William Morrow, March 2005. Basically, the title explains what his book is about. Every question you can think of is included, for example “How much do parents really matter?” and “Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?”

This is a book I will definitely look-up whenever I get out of the textbook haze.

I hope I was able to help, Bonita. Let me know what you thought of the books.