Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Staff Council

Summer reading recommendations: July picks

Posted on July 12, 2012

Hope this list has your next “must read” on it! Remember that you can check things out from the library or get a staff discount of 20% at the bookstore.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
The author of Pride Prejudice and Zombies brings you the previously unknown history of Abraham Lincoln.  At nine year’s old Lincoln’s mother dies, he later finds out that she was killed by vampires who are trying to take over the country and makes it his mission to eradicate the undead bloodsuckers.

  • Read it if: you get a kick out of the 16th President of the United States engaged in hand-to-hand combat with vampires.
  • Skip it if: you’d rather just watch the movie in theatres.

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
This sentimental novel opens on a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel in Seattle.  The hotel had been boarded up for years and once opened they find the belongings of Japanese families who were rounded up and sent to interment camps.  This discovery brings Henry Lee back to the 1940’s where as a schoolboy he met and befriended Keiko Okabe before she and her family were evacuated.

  • Read it if: a poetic tale from a conflicted and troubled time in American history strikes your fancy.
  • Skip it if: you prefer novels that won’t make you cry.

Hard Country by Michael McGarrity
Spanning the years 1875 to 1918 in brutal and untamed New Mexico, Hard Country is a Western on an epic level.  After the murder of his brother, and the death of his wife in childbirth, John Kerney must give up his ranch, leave his infant son, and track down the murderous outlaws who took his brother’s life.

  • Read it if: you love the Old West with all its color, personality, and heartbreak.
  • Skip it if: you’re not drawn to detailed Westerns or family sagas.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
In this masterful piece of non-fiction, McDougall weaves together the science and biomechanics of running, with an exhilarating narrative of one of the greatest ultra marathons that wasn’t witnessed.  As a jogger McDougall started his research in a quest to find out why he was injured so often.  While he found answers to that question, he also found out a lot more about the modern running shoe industry and its influence on the sport, the evolution of running, and a small tribe of Indians in Central Mexico who regularly run hundreds of miles without injury.

  • Read it if: you want to be fully absorbed in this informative and thrilling narrative of athletic prowess.
  • Skip it if: you are unlikely to change your opinion that running is a form of insanity.

Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
In Taliban controlled Afghanistan, Kamila Sidiqi must care for her five siblings when her father and brother are forced to flee.  Unable to leave her home, Sidiqi becomes an unlikely entrepreneur when she uses needle and thread to earn a living for herself and her family.  Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reported on Sidiqi and her efforts for years and in her book the focus is not on the war but resilience, faith, family, and community.

  • Read it if: you want an intimate view into the daily lives of women in Afghanistan and a true story that reads like a novel.
  • Skip it if: inspirational stories of resourcefulness and determination aren’t your thing.

Submitted by Lauren Slingluff, Social Sciences Liaison

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