All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

To make it easier to purchase books you may read about on the blog, I've linked to through The Cats and a Book Bookstore, which is located on the bottom of this page. Your purchases are fulfilled and handled through Amazon. To assure your privacy, Cats and a Book doesn't handle any of your payment or contact information.

Happy reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Five Book Series for Summer Reading

There’s something about summer that seems to give avid readers permission to indulge.  It’s the time of year guilty pleasures are tucked into beach bags and backpacks, with no thought of the kind of deep classics associated with the school year.  It’s also the time of year to dust off old favorites, particularly those series of books that read like popcorn. 

Here are five book series that come to mind that make good entertainment during those lazy summer months:

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

1.  “The Cat Who” mysteries, by Lilian Jackson Braun.  Ms. Braun died last year, leaving behind 29 “Cat Who” mysteries, which ranged in publishing dates from 1966 to 2007.  During her prolific writing career, Jim Qwilleran, the hero of the story, manages to solve murder mysteries with the help of two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum.  Favorites include her earliest books, which are richer in character development.  However, for fun reading that doesn’t take much mental energy, “The Cat Who” books are terrific summer reads. 

2.  “The No. 1 Ladies’Detective Agency” novels, by Alexander McCall Smith.  These charming adventures of Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi, the detectives featured in this series, aren’t as dark as “The  Cat Who” books.  Rarely is there a suspected murder, but more often there are errant spouses, orphaned children, and shady business dealings.  Mma Ramotswe’s homegrown advice is interspersed throughout the books, and much of it is valuable to the reader, as well as to the character in the story.   There are thirteen books, so far, of the detective agency’s capers. 

3.  For something darker and more dramatic, try The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins.  This trilogy is aimed at young adult readers, but readers of all ages (tweens and up) may find them entertaining.   The story of 16-year-old Katniss Eveerdeen and her co-combatant Peeta Mallark is gripping, violent, and inspiring as they take on the evil Capitol and outwit the Hunger Games. 

4.  If focus and time aren’t issues during the summer months, the classic trilogy The Lord of the Rings is a worthy collection of writing to enjoy again.  Start with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, read the trilogy, and for extra credit, read The Silmarillion (the creation story of Middle Earth).   

5.  And then there’s the Harry Potter collection, another set of seven somewhat dark reads designed for younger readers which are engaging and entertaining.  Starting with Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone, originally published in 1997,  J. K. Rowling’s novels still delight readers with their humor, mystery, and adventure.  All ages can enjoy this series of soon-to-be classic books. 

There are many possibilities from prolific writers for summer reading.  Leave a comment with your favorite series of books, so we can add them to our reading list for next summer!

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