The Ponies’ Summer Reading ListJuly 12, 2016
By Michael Gibson,
As summer starts winding down, here are some of Fast Horse’s favorite reads — from thrillers to nonfiction, travel literature, classics and science fiction. Check it out.
50 Great American Places by Brent D. Glass
This is an example of me being sold on a book because of who wrote the foreword (David McCullough). I’m not sure if I’m recommending it yet – I’m only six Places in. But I have learned some interesting things about a building in Santa Fe, N.M. (longest continuously running public building in the US), and a Native American settlement east of St. Louis that was – at the time – more populous than London and is marked by massive burial mounds. If you’re into traveling and seeing interesting, off-the-beaten-path things, it might be a decent read.
+ Recommended by Dave F.
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
Schumacher is a local Minneapolis-based author whose book is light but smart fare and won the Thurber prize for American humor last year. The story is told entirely with recommendation letters written by a beleaguered English professor. (It hit a little close to home at times for me.)
+ Recommended by Shayla S.
Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton Sides
The book is a nonfiction account of the time leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the many alter egos of the man who killed him. While the book reads like a crime novel, it’s full of history and covers not only Martin Luther King, Jr.’s quest for racial equality, but also dives into his passion for eradicating poverty across the country. It’s also extremely relevant to everything that’s happening right now across the country. I would definitely recommend it.
+ Recommended by Maggie L.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Summer may be a time for lighter literary fare, but I’m going with the author the Internet keeps trying to kill off — Cormac McCarthy — and his story of a father and son’s post-apocalyptic quest for survival in “The Road.” Why such a downer for the summer? Style. McCarthy was economical with words before Twitter made it cool. His use of short, simple sentences and repetition paces the story like a steady drip from a rusty pipe, creating a constant tension from beginning to end. It’s kind of like a 300-page version of the 2016 presidential election.
+ Recommend by Andrew M.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I recently — finally — read “Atlas Shrugged” because A) I’ve had it on my shelf forever and B) I booked a flight to Australia, so why not crack into a 1,200-page book? Brief description of said 1,200-page book: You know that 21-year-old version of yourself that was absolutely certain that every facet of your TOTALLY WELL-ROUNDED worldview was accurate and should be regarded as The Way for everyone in the world? “Atlas Shrugged” is a great story that’s too long, written by someone like that version of yourself, and translated into Russian then back into English before publication. Ayn Rand has a knack for telling great stories poorly. Is it the greatest book ever? No, it does not unseat “The Godfather” or “A Farewell to Arms.” Is it epic and entertaining and thought-provoking? Indeed. Should you read it and then immediately donate to the Johnson-Weld 2016 campaign? Abso-damn-lutely. [Ed.: Ugh.]
+ Recommended by Mike K.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
While an entire generation (millennials) battle fictitious creatures for control of arbitrary locations in the first of many wildly popular augmented reality video games, I’m reminded of this fantastic, fun read by Ernest Cline, which almost eerily predicts the rise of virtual-reality gaming and its effect on our way of life, economy and even government. This short novel is thrilling and hilarious from start to finish with its well-balanced three-act structure — one that required almost no effort to adapt for its silver-screen feature coming out in a year or so. If you think Pokémon Go is either amazing or stupid, and you are inclined to read books before their film adaptation are released, this makes for the perfect summer read. Nerdy, nostalgic, freakishly relevant.
+ Recommended by Joe R.