Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Staff Council

Looking for a good book to share some vacation time with?

Posted on June 6, 2012

The following list should have something for everyone!  Don’t forget that you can check books out from the library, or if you’re looking for a book you won’t feel guilty bringing to the beach, buy a copy from the bookstore!  Staff get a 20% discount and titles that are not in stock can be ordered.

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

In the summer of 1950 in the English countryside a mystery unfolds when eleven year old Flavia de Luce finds a corpse on the front steps of her family’s decrepit mansion.  Don’t start thinking of Flavia as a British Nancy Drew, this pint-sized sleuth is a chemistry genius, wickedly funny, and has a moral compass that is slightly askew.

Read it if: you are a fan of dark wit and Agatha Christie type mysteries with lots of intrigue.

Skip it if: you prefer sleuth stories with a fair amount of gore.

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

The story opens in Oxford’s Bodleian Library as scholar Diana Bishop inadvertently requests an ancient, enchanted alchemical manuscript.  This simple act sets a chain of events in motion, the first being her encounter with a 1500 year old vampire.  Diana works to understand the mystery behind the manuscript while also coming to terms with her own magical abilities.

Read it if: you enjoy history, enchanting prose, and modern day fantasy.

Skip it if: magic, witches, and vampires aren’t really your thing.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Light.  Refreshing.  Insightful. This collection of short essays showcases Fey’s standard self-deprecating humor to laugh-out-loud effect.  Fey ruminates on her childhood, her career at SNL, motherhood, the differences between men and women, and more.

Read it if: you’re a huge fan of SNL, 30 Rock, or just want a really funny, quick read.

Skip it if: you want something with a standard plot, or you know, if you don’t like to laugh.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

This first book in this epic fantasy series takes place in a land where the seasons are out of balance and winter can last a lifetime.  The narrative centers around the Stark family of Winterfell, however this fantasy is intricate and complex following multiple storylines as people battle for power with force, magic, and manipulation.

Read it if: you enjoy ancient power struggles, complex fantasy, and even some dragons.

Skip it if: you prefer more PG content for your books, does contain passages of a violent or sexual nature.

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This work of non-fiction tells the story of Henrietta Lacks whose cells were collected without her knowledge while she was undergoing treatment in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1950.  While she would later die from cancer, her cells, named HeLa by scientists became the first “immortal” human cells grown in culture and were bought and sold in the billions to assist in research of the polio vaccine; invitro fertilization; cloning; cancer; and even the effects of the atom bomb.

Read it if: you want a book that seamlessly blends science with a detective story, discovering the full extent of Henrietta Lacks’ legacy.

Skip it if: you want to bury yourself in some fiction this summer.

Submitted by Lauren Slingluff

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