Chris' Top Five Fave Summer Reads

With the late Mr. Juster's birthday in the so-recent past, I celebrated my favorite book of his and wondered what books I would want with me if I was on the beach — of a desert island, or in the midst of holiday revelers.

These are books I have read. Some are oft read, some aren't because I have shared them. The list of books I have yet to read for the summer will follow soon!

The Phantom Tollbooth

This novel is perfect to share with readers of all ages. It's classified as juvenile fiction, but as fans of Harry Potter know, "juvenile" is in the eyes of the beholder. Norton Juster creates a fabulous world that can be taken on many different levels, depending on the reader's age and maturity (which can be mutually exclusive).

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife
Readers might want to take along a dictionary when they read this wonderful novel, but it's not really necessary. Linda Bertoll is very clear, no matter her vocabulary. As one fellow reader put it: He takes her again, and again, and.... You get the gist. It's a great romp for the reader as well. One always wanted to see how the Darcys wound up — and now one does.

No Angel
Romance, sex, intrigue, consuming passion, family obligation, wealth, loyalty, wartime — and enough to last for more than a single generation! Penny Vincenzi wrote the perfect Fluff 'n Trash story that has the interest and energy to last for three books. I have recommended this book many a time since my friend Kathy introduced me to it, and every person has instantly read the subsequent novels. Now, I myself have read only the first book in the trilogy, but I can't wait to read the rest. I might have to alter this list to include all three novels!

The Moon is Always Female

I love poetry, and this volume really speaks to me. Marge Piercy can be a little heavy-handed, but I like her language, rhythm and line breaks — not to mention her sentiment.

I thought I knew the story of Oz — that is, until Gregory Maguire got a hold of it. The Wickedest Witch There Ever Was: was she really wicked? Says who? And why? Under some circumstances, one does not delve. For example, when Dr. Seuss tells readers no one knows why the Grinch was grinchy, one should believe him and not delve into live-action Whoswapping. However, when Maguire raises the question, readers want to know — and see differently what was once clear. (This book is not the musical, and vice versa. Both are fabulous in their own rights, but they are not the same. Trust me.)

And to be fair, here are Some Books that Don't Belong on This List (in no particular order — and not because they're not good, because some of them are!): Jude the Obscure (come to think of it, anything by Thomas Hardy) • MiddlesexThe Last TemplarHouse of Sand and FogA Good and Happy ChildThe Somnambulist • and more....

Let me know what you would (or would not) put on your list.

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