Three books to start off the new semester

By Anne Davey, Staff Writer

August 18, 2012

As the summer comes to its end, and the fall semester begins, reading for fun might be the last thing on your mind. Textbook purchases high in the hundreds of dollars, along with all of your required books might have taken their toll on your desire for fresh reads, not to mention the weekends at the pool and hours at the gym that come along with every fall semester. That 18-credit schedule you’ve taken on this semester could certainly use some intermittent light, fun reading. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a few weekend excursions planned, or maybe you’re not quite ready to dive back into the mind numbing TV world of “Jersey Shore” and “Real Housewives.”  Whatever the case may be, summer winding down is no cause for your reading list to wind down with it. So here you have it; with a novel to satisfy whatever craving you might be having, the Campus Chronicle gives you a reason, or several, to keep reading along while your summer tan fades.

 

“The American Heiress” by Daisy Goodwin

 

Upon flipping open the very first pages, you are immediately drawn into a world of long ago. The world of Cora Cash is old money New York, where the Vanderbilts and Cargnegies reigned supreme on original Fifth and Park Avenue addresses. With decadent details and rich dialect, Goodwin brings the reader to the height of glamour in American society in the late 1800’s; an age when debutantes ruled and “old money” was the only money that mattered. With the elegant language of the era, Daisy Goodwin expertly lays out the world of our heroine, Ms. Cora Cash, for the readers. With familiar echo’s of The CW’s ever popular TV show Gossip Girl, the society setting in America jumps from NYC to Newport, all the way to the Vineyard, and eventually to Europe; Europe, where the novel becomes all the more charming and Downton Abbey-esque. With no details or story line lost, the plot furthers as Mrs. Cash (Cora’s overbearing, society matron, nouveau-riche mother) continues her quest to find Cora the one thing she cannot get in America: a royal title. With all the magic of Elizabethan England and the sly inner workings of high society Britain, we follow Cora on her journey as the newest American Duchess. Readers see Cora battling old love, new enemies, and working her way through the under currents of royalty in Britain. Goodwin does a fantastic job with the subplots, while the language conveys all of the emotions perfectly, still managing to keep the reader guessing. The American Heiress never fails to be entertaining, fashionable, bold and mysterious.

 

You’ll like this book if you like:

TV Shows: “Downton Abbey,” “Gossip Girl”

Books: Anna Godberson’s “The Luxe” series

 

“The Last Werewolf” by Glen Duncan

 

This scintillating novel completely redefines the now extremely popular concept of werewolf and vampire legends. For those of you who think that modern day werewolf/vampire novels are all akin to Twilight, think again. In this dark and brooding novel, Glen Duncan realistically approaches the legend of the werewolf, as readers follow the last werewolf on earth through his final months. Jake, the lone werewolf, is a dark, pessimistic, violent and sexual being. This novel, though definitely heavy handed, is a thought provoking and often philosophical story of the loneliness and desolation of being the last of an era. With no shortage of action, blood and gore, this plot will keep even the most seasoned underworld fans wanting more. Duncan expertly combines literature, philosophy, legend, mystery and sex to keep the story fast paced and interesting. The plot has an equal measure of action, intimacy and story line to hold the interest of any and all readers, and keep everyone guessing up until the very end; predictable this book is not. The werewolves and vampires of The Last Werewolf jump off the page to be vibrant and interesting, like you have never seen them before. This book is, definitely not just for girls.

 

You’ll like this book if you like:

Movies: “Underworld: Evolution”

TV Shows: “True Blood”

Subject Areas: Undead Folklore.

Sequel alert:  “Tallulah Rising” coming September 2012

 

 

“Robopocalypse” by Daniel H. Wilson

 

This New York Times best selling Sci-Fi thriller takes a new angle on the commonly approached ‘end of the world’ plot line. Near in the future, our Earth is increasingly robot-reliant, so much so that when a scientific experiment goes awry, the world, as we know it meets its demise at the hands of an advanced self-aware artificial intelligence system. This story is unique in its descriptive nature; Wilson’s creativity stretches to each aspect of the novel, making better and brighter robots and new technology seem just beyond what readers may know now. Though the story takes the usual post-apocalyptic approach, it still manages to be interesting and original in its content. As the first person narrative follows small bands of survivors in the days leading up to Day Zero, the robots’ final attack, a variety of flashbacks from various sides of the uprising shed light on the human demise. Wilson is darkly comical and hauntingly eerie in equal measure. His portrayal of the robots, constantly evolving and varying in shape, size, make and intelligence, is cunning and fascinating. Though he certainly focuses more attention on the description of the robots, the human cast is equally diverse and interesting in line up. All in all, this book will not disappoint even the most seasoned science fiction fans.

 

(In addition, Steven Spielberg optioned this novel before it was even published, so you know that a killer movie of Star Wars proportions is on its way.)

 

You’ll like this book if you like:

Books: Scott Westerfeld’s “The Uglies” series, “Farenheit” 451 by Ray Bradbury

Movies: “The Matrix”

 

 

There’s something out there for everyone, while some of these books may not exactly fit into your fall curriculum, diving into a good book is always a good way to wind down and get back into the post-summer academic swing. So grab a seat in Smith or a comfy window bench in the Learning Commons and pick up one of these great reads.