My Summer Reading List For 2021

It’s summer and the air is fair. As part of my ongoing effort for this year, I am trying to finish what I already have. Netflix I have made a list and while the list dwindles slowly, it dwindles. I’ve put a hiatus on buying new video games until I’ve finished the old. And my Audible subscription is cancelled until further notice. Lists are becoming my saving grace this year and now is the time to finish the books I’ve received but haven’t read. So without further ado, here’s what I’m reading this summer:

Moonflower Murders

Everyone loves a good murder mystery and everyone needs a beloved author; this book fills both those role. ‘Moonflower Murders’ is the sequel to Anthony’s Horrowitz’s, ‘Magpie Murders’, a book with a twist and one that I couldn’t put down. Will ‘Moonflower Murders’ offer the same experience? Hard to say but I love Anthony Horrowitz. He wrote the ‘Alex Rider’ series that I read as a teen and the fact that he writes adult novels has been a dream come true. No more sitting on the shelf, I’ll be dusting this book off in the coming months and reading it to my heart’s content.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Hunger Games. The series I binge read in college. I started one book and couldn’t put it down until I had read the entire trilogy. I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic novels and this was no exception. At one point, I was able to figure out the location of every district based on details in the books. Now, I only remember a few. Will ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ offer as many thrills? It’s an enticing offer, having a story regarding Snow. I know so little about the book that it’ll be a treat all on it’s own, one that I will hopefully get to reading before the summer ends.

The Righteous Mind –

A classic written by Jonathan Haidt. My friend gave it to me as a gift and I’m slowly making my way through it page by page. Little to my knowledge, the author actually came up with the term The Rider and the Elephant to describe intuition and rationality, which I had heard many years ago in my Ethics class! As such, this book is beyond awesome for that reason alone as I started applying that concept to my everyday life. I’m a little over 50 pages in at the moment, so here’s hoping to finishing the book before the Oregon Wildfire season consumes my every waking thought!

The Odyssey –

The original, the classic, THE epic poem. It’s time I become cultured and join the upper epsilons of society. Will this lead to reading ‘Dante’s Inferno’? Who knows. But I do know I actually lost my copy of ‘The Odyssey’ but am so determined to read it that I bought a copy on Audible. I’ve had this copy since before the Pandemic, just to give you an idea of where the backlog of books begins.


And that’s it! Four books for three months! I’ll be taking time off in August so I’m hoping to get a lot of reading done this summer. Ideally I want to read at least ten minutes a day to get back into the groove and really sit down to enjoy a good book. All these books I know so little about, so it should make for an exciting summer.

Brave New World: Utopia or Dystopia?

A common misconception with Dystopian novels is that our immediate assumption is that in an effort to create a world of ideals, those ideas somehow go wrong and that the mechanisms in place for these societies are twisted and perverted. We are looking for reasons as to why these societies could never work and very rarely do we entertain the idea that perhaps, indeed, they could.

And yet, that is exactly the question posed in “Brave New World”. It is not an evil society and the moments we wait for, the big reveal, dissipate. Depending on who you are, you might very well be happy in this society, if you can look past the horrors.

The Premise

With stem cell research a hot topic nowadays, I find it fascinating to read about a novelĀ  published in the thirties that has a society based on individuals incubated in test tubes. The dystopian twist is this is how classes are formed within the “Brave New World” society. In theory, everyone could be born an Alpha or a Beta, as it only requires an oxygen adjustment to the tank. Yes, that’s right. Depending on the amount of oxygen one receives during incubation will ultimately determine who that person will become. Less oxygen means you’ll slide closer to gammas, deltas, and epsilons. As can be guessed, Alphas rule over society and have the most freedom, Betas do important work but generally lead simpler lives while epsilons exist at the bottom of society, doing the undesirable work. To make matters worse (as if oxygen starvation wasn’t enough), toddlers are conditioned to hate that which nature intended for them to love. At night, inaudible words are played to dictate behavior and you have a recipe for a perfect dystopia.

And Yet…

The book touches on themes such as lifespan and poses a rather interesting question; would you rather live until 60 in perfect health or live past 60 with the potential of decline? In the book there isn’t much of a choice but the question has stuck with me even years after reading the novel (yes, I started this review years ago). Through Soma (the typical Dystopian happy pill), a world free of pregnancy, and open relations like you’ve never seen before, one might argue that this society doesn’t seem all too bad (at least for Alpha and Betas). One could also arguably make the case for Deltas and Epsilons that ignorance is bliss in what is just one of many controversial ideas of this book (still shocked this was written in the 30’s).

Hard to Say

The book also touches on the idea of Reservations and explores the concept of whether or not we are truly better off with unabated technological advances. The reservations preserve the culture and are left largely alone by the “modern” society. The book touches on many themes during this portion of the novel and is best read fresh. I could go in more depth but pondering the questions raised in this book while reading was quite enjoyable.

The Verdict

Even after years of reading the book, the concepts and ideas stick. This is a Masterpiece of literature and a must read. The ideas discussed and analyzed are some of the best I’ve ever read in any dystopian novel, putting it in a class all on it’s own.

Great Gatsby: Worth a read?

The Great Gatsby. The book most read in primary school. Did I read it then? I actually can’t remember. But I’ve read it now. And what did I think? Well… Let’s first talk about what it is.

The narration is from the perspective of Nick, a classy, honest dude who moved East to New York. The book is set in the 1920’s or better known as the roaring 20’s in the US and at it’s heart sets up a great mystery. Early in the story Nick meets his neighbor Jay Gatsby, a mysterious individual who perplexes the relatively reserved Nick. Gatsby is a man who has extravagant parties and has a taste for the finer things in life.

As the book progresses, we learn more about Gatsby and his past, uncovering the mystery of why he’s called “The Great Gatsby”. Woven into the plot is a tale of unrequited love and really goes to show that it’s about the journey, not the destination.

Why you should read

The book is beautifully written. When you read the book, it’s as though you’re in the 20’s and right there alongside Nick. The book has plenty of twists and leaves you questioning if what you’re told is the actual truth. The book steadily ramps up and the climax does not disappoint when you finally reach page 180. The writing is easy to follow and it makes for a quick, enjoyable read.

My recommendation?

I give “The Great Gatsby” 4 out of 5 stars. While not perfect, it comes close. It’s a great book and certainly worth your time.


Thanks for reading! The next book on my list is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, which I’ve only heard great things about. Already read “The Great Gatsby”? Feel free to discuss in the comments below, just be wary to avoid spoilers when you post.