Weekly 5: Five Summer reads


Summertime means fewer classes, which leaves students some time to finally read for leisure. Whether a reader prefers fantasy, nonfiction, religious books or memoirs, campus faculty and staff have some good suggestions for summer reads:

1. “Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise” by Ruth Reichl

Reichl is a world-renowned food critic who reviewed restaurants for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and “Gourmet” magazine. According to Google Books, Reichl’s work is a humorous reflection on how guests’ appearance can affect their character and appetite, as well as the service they receive.

Christiana Huss is a senior studying English and working at the BYU Bookstore’s information desk. She designated Reichl’s book as one of her staff picks.

“It’s a fun, easy read,” Huss said. “But because it’s nonfiction it makes you feel a little more accomplished once you’ve finished reading it.”

2. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

Death is the narrator of this World War II novel by Australian author Markus Zusak. Set in Nazi Germany, the book shares the story of a young girl who steals books and, with the help of her foster father, learns to read. She shares the books with neighbors and the Jewish fist-fighter hiding in her basement from the Nazis. Amazon’s review praises the book as “an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.”

Anita Charles, supervisor for children’s books at the bookstore, recommended the novel.

“The book was written for young adults,” Charles said. “But the writing is sophisticated. It’s for a mature reader. It’s just really marvelous writing. ‘Book Thief’ is definitely something that you shouldn’t miss.”

3. “The Rithmatist” by Brandon Sanderson

Charles also enjoyed this fantasy novel by the No.1 New York Times bestselling author, though initially she didn’t want to read it.

“I was feeling like I had fantasy fatigue,” Charles said. “I just had all the fantasy I could stand, but Sanderson is a great guy, and I felt like I owed it to him. From the first page it completely drew me in. I’m not kidding. From the first page you don’t want to believe anything except that it’s true. It’s exciting.”

4. “The God Who Weeps” by Terryl and Fiona Givens

LDS author Terryl Givens is a professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond. Givens completed graduate studies at Cornell and UNC Chapel Hill. He has written extensively on Mormon history, culture and theology. He and his wife worked together on this book concerning the nature of God.

BYU Bookstore’s General Book Office supervisor Tami Barber said the Givens’ book will be on her recommendation list until everyone reads it.

“It’s written to a non-Mormon audience about what Mormons believe,” Barber said. “It’s pretty deep, but it’s beautifully written. It reminds members of the Church about our relationship with God and why we’re really here. Everyone should read it.”

5. “The Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt

English professor Dennis Cutchins recently finished this work of nonfiction by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Greenblatt.

“It’s a very interesting book,” Cutchins said. “It’s a cool history about a 15th-century secretary to the pope who uncovered a Latin manuscript of the poem, ‘On the Nature of Things.’ The poem has a modern twist to it that the (Catholic) Church was very opposed to. … For students who are intellectually minded, I’d recommend it.”

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