Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Reading Weekly Series - June (Part 2)

Furious Readers, my sincere apologies for not posting this sooner.  It seems we followed our own advice and got caught reading (don't you love when that happens?).  More on those reading experiences later this summer, but let us get back to the matter at hand -  our summer weekly series.  Luckily, you get two posts this week!

Graduation is approaching (or for many of you, it has already happened), so we decided to suggest great reading for those who have just finished high school, or for those who are feeling nostalgic this week.

Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman & Congratulations, by the way:  Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders

Okay, I'm cheating, but both of these selections are great graduation speeches by great writers.  Now you COULD find these pieces on YouTube, but you would be doing yourself a visual disservice if you didn't read the speeches thoughtfully designed and printed for your enjoyment.  Both books are short, but the length does not diminish the inspiration behind it. We've heard the commencement speeches, we've all reread All the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss, and my generation was responsible for taking Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)" as gospel truth.  So why not continue the tradition?  High school graduate or not, allow yourself to be moved by these words and to be captivated by the artwork in both of these texts.

Make Good Art is another Neil Gaiman gem (honestly, is there anything this guy can't do?).  

Congratulations, by the way is an interesting look at commencement speeches, which is George Saunders taking on a more non-conventional approach to graduation advice:  be kinder and celebrate this kindness.  

Paper Towns by John Green

For many people, June means one thing - Graduation. The final days of your high school or college career slowly drawing to a close. It's not only the end of an intellectual journey that's taken over a decade to complete, it's also the the end to a big chapter in our lives, one of the most formative ones in many ways. So to all those out there donning their caps and gowns, and preparing to start the next great chapter in their lives, my recommendation this week is Paper Towns by John Green. 

While many people are still reeling from The Fault in our Stars movie, based on Green's latest book of the same name, which hit theaters last week. Paper Towns seemed a much more fitting choice this time around. The book follows the senior year of Quentin "Q" Jacobsen, the narrator of our story, who is the unexpected accomplice to a night of elaborate prank based revenge, orchestrated by his next door neighbor, Margo Roth Speigelman. But after Margo goes missing the next day, Q is left to try and piece together what might have happened to her and, more importantly, just who this girl really is and why she picked him to share in her final night of mischief.

Along the way, Paper Towns does an amazing job of capturing life on the verge of change, and how we can struggle with it. The book offers a really interesting perspective on how difficult it can be to look back and figure out where we are going, but also how important it is that we do just that. Our memories are unreliable mechanisms for reflection because they are biased by our perceptions. And sometimes the stories we hold to aren't as accurate as we may believe. But if we can take a step back and really make sense of these stories for what they are, it'll help us make so much more sense of the chapters yet to come.
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