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Summer is the perfect time to plan an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. While going to the beach or taking a vacation are great ways to escape, these books can provide an inexpensive getaway without leaving the comfort of your home.

“Paddle your own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living” by Nick Offerman

If you’re a fan of the show “Parks and Recreation,” why not give this book a try? Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson on the show, writes a funny, lighthearted autobiography that emulates a very similar persona to that of his TV personality. Offerman uses his life experiences to deliver a comical story.

Leaving nothing out, the story covers the time of Offerman’s birth in Joliet, Illinois to his acting career, and finally to the time of the book’s publication in 2013. He also talks about things he’s passionate about like woodworking and his love for red meat.

Even if you aren’t a fan of “Parks and Recreation” and don’t know who Offerman is, I would still suggest picking it up as it’s full of funny commentary about religion, politics and food that I believe most people can relate to on some level.

“Midnight Jewel” by Richelle Mead

“Midnight Jewel” by Richelle Mead is the second novel in “The Glittering Court” trilogy. Each novel is told from three separate characters and their experiences moving from Europe to the New World in the early 1800s.    

“I am an avid fan of Richelle Mead,” senior Alicia Duncombe said. “They’re all fantasy [Mead’s books] and they usually have a magic element to them.”

The book revolves around a young woman who no longer wants to live in England, Duncombe said. She joins The Glittering Court, a company that pairs bachelorettes with wealthy American men, in order to join high society in America during the 19th century.

“I can never put them down and each chapter flows so well into the next,” Duncombe said. “She does a lot of cliffhangers; the whole page-turner thing is totally a thing in Richelle Mead’s books.”

Junior Tommy You studies under a tree on the Old Main lawn Wednesday, May 31. // Photo by Jonathan Pendleton

“Player Piano” by Kurt Vonnegut

I credit my high school English teacher for introducing me to Kurt Vonnegut and his ability to use satire to critique the world around us. For me, Vonnegut is one author who can make you laugh, and then makes you ask yourself if you really should’ve been laughing at all. When you finish his books, you’re not only satisfied, but you look at the world differently than before you started reading.

“Player Piano” is Vonnegut’s first novel. It follows a successful engineer, Paul Proteus, in a world controlled by a supercomputer. This sci-fi novel uses dark humor to shine light on the idea of a world fully autonomous and what impact that would have on society.

“The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For” by David McCullough

“In these deep political, polarizing times it’s important to remember the importance of our history,” junior Zak Ott said. “In my opinion, no one does that better than David McCullough.”

David McCullough, an American historian, wrote a collection of speeches that he’s given throughout his life, Ott said. McCullough has spoken at universities, the White House and Congress about why American history is important.

“I believe ‘The American Spirit’ will reaffirm who you are as an American,” Ott said. “We’ve had bad times before and we’ve been able to get through them.”

Ott said it talks about the importance of the history of the nation as well as what core American values are. The book is a guide to help find our way moving forward.

“The Lottery and Other Stories” by Shirley Jackson

“The Lottery and Other Stories” is a collection of short stories written by Shirley Jackson, with the longest story being around 35 pages. The stories will leave a lasting impression on the reader, in my opinion. Jackson, a veteran in suspenseful writing, will have you sitting on-edge throughout each page. She is an author that can paint a picture with words. Each story is unique and diverse, with engaging character development that will make you wish each story is a little longer.

A suspenseful book, Jackson’s stories are for those who enjoy the horror genre. Some stories may start out fairly normal, but will lead you through twists and turns you’ll never see coming. One story follows a boy conversing with an elderly man on a train. It starts out innocent enough but gets creepier.


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