Major Literature

Summertime and reading a good book seem to go hand in hand.  If the only book you’ve picked up in the last few months is a textbook, it’s time to come to the library and pick up your own summer reading book.  The following great reads are as unique as the programs offered on our campus.

Chuck Palahniuk’s book Invisible Monsters will wake you up from the boredom of constant textbook reading.  This book, from the author of Fight Club, follows a fashion model who is horribly disfigured in a freak auto accident.  Her downward spiral and self-discovery as she travels across the country with a drag queen and his companion will keep your eyes glued to the page.  Along with all the unpredictable twists and turns, you’ll find a story that deals with the harsh realities of gender and beauty.

Swinging from one end of the heroine spectrum to the other, Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre is the epitome of the Victorian novel.  While the soap opera-esque plot revolving around the downtrodden, self-proclaimed “plain” Jane and the brooding, mysterious Mr. Rochester is reason enough to read this book, we confess that the cover art is our favorite part.  It was designed by designer Coralie Bickford-Smith as part of Penguin’s Clothbound Classics series.  This is one situation where it’s perfectly okay to judge a book by its cover.

The idea of expressing love through food takes on special meaning in Laura Esquivel’s book Like Water for Chocolate.  The book tells the story of the De La Garza family and the enduring yet forbidden love between Tita and Pedro.  However, food is the driving force of this novel: the characters infuse their meals with love, sadness, or whatever emotion they are feeling while cooking, producing intense results for those who eat it.  It’s a magical tale of the power of food in everyday life.

If you were ever a moody teenage girl, and haven’t read Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, you have some required reading to do.  Esther, a summer intern at a top fashion magazine in New York City, becomes deeply depressed and disillusioned with life, eventually attempting suicide.  After several tries, Esther finally meets a doctor who helps her fight the crippling depression that nearly cost her her life.  Plath’s coming-of-age novel puts a spotlight not only on clinical depression, but also on the problematic way creative women are treated in our society.

Leave a Reply