• Jacob Turk

My Summer Reading List

With only five weeks left until I start school again, I've crafted a list of novels that I'd like to finish by the end of the summer. I'll make sure to check back on this post in September to see how many I actually finished! 23/07/19.

Many experienced readers keep a reading list----a list of novels they own (or wish to purchase) that they plan on reading soon. Some readers order their list of books by the ones they want to read first and other readers keep a ramshackle list that serves as a pool from which to draw a random title whenever they’re looking for new literature to consume.

Now that I’m back in the creative writing saddle, I’ll also be reading for at least an hour each day. So, I’ve decided to make a small, ordered reading list that will entertain me until at least the end of the summer, when I start University again. I presume that while I’m in school, I’ll have more than enough books to read----all my courses for the entire year are English courses, after all. I’ll likely be burnt out of reading by all my mandatory texts that I won’t even want to read for fun. Still, I have a little over a month to read as many horror novels as I can get my hands on.

Sure, five weeks of reading time won’t afford me finishing more than a few books, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. That’s why I have five potential books on my reading list for the rest of the summer. Yes, most of them are by Stephen King, but I love his books. Don’t judge me.

1. It -- Stephen King

This novel is hecking massive. It clocks in at a little over 1100 pages and will likely take me most of the rest of the summer to read. I saw the film adaptation when it came out in 2017 and although I wasn’t a huge fan of the acting in the movie, I loved the story and the concept.

My most recent book haul was last month in June, which is when I picked up the novel. I couldn’t resist the creepy smile of Pennywise the clown on the cover, nor the sheer size of the novel, which is scary enough on its own.

2. Dreamcatcher – Stephen King

I’ll admit that I know little about the story of Dreamcatcher, but that didn’t stop me from buying the novel about a year ago. Honestly, it was the beauty of the cover design that led me to pick up the book. Sure, I read the synopsis, which only further validated the purchase, but I still hold that the cover art is the only reason that Dreamcatcher sits on my shelf.

At this point, however, I’ve read enough Stephen King novels to trust the quality of his work. I trust Mr. King enough, even, to place Dreamcatcher second on my summer reading list.

3. Do I Make Myself Clear? – Harold Evans

The subtitle of this book reads: “A Practical Guide to Writing Well in the Modern Age.” That’s basically all I need to hear in order to buy a book.

No matter what career we choose to pursue in life, learning should never stop. Every day, we should strive to learn about our chosen path; to actively seek out our shortcomings and work tirelessly to improve them. Creative writing isn’t exempt from this standard.

Along with consistently writing, I strive to learn about writing as much as I can, and one of the best ways to do that is to read instructional literature.

When I quickly browsed through Do I Make Myself Clear? in the store, the book looked well-organized and seemed to contain plenty of useful information about improving one’s writing skills. Those factors made purchasing the book and including it on my summer reading list easy decisions.

4. Coldbrook – Tim Lebbon

I figure it’s high-time for me to give some love to a horror author other than Stephen King, for once. Alike Dreamcatcher, I mainly bought Coldbrook because of the fantastic cover art. Again, I read the synopsis and browsed the book and found that I loved the concept, but the cover was what initially caught my eye: a foggy forest scape looming above a single, twisted human figure of which the only noticeable feature are the harrowing red eyes. The figure, I presume, is what could be considered a “zombie.”

I have a soft spot for zombie horror. Back in 2018, right after I dropped out of university, my initial writing project was a novel called Nature’s Bounty, which was a psych-horror with a twist on the traditional “zombie apocalypse” concept.

The attractive cover of Coldbrook coupled with the intriguing synopsis and my love for zombie horror compelled me to place Coldbrook in the fourth spot on my reading list.

5. The Gunslinger – Stephen King

After I left the University of Waterloo and began taking writing seriously, I figured it was time to also take reading seriously. During my time at UWaterloo I never read for fun, so I had been out of the literary loop for a while.

When I asked my friends and family for initial reading recommendations, noting that I intended to become a horror author, I received more Stephen King recommendations than any other author. More than that, The Dark Tower series was at the top of the list of King suggestions. I picked up The Gunslinger, along with the second and third books in the series, on my first ever post-university book haul.

Since the time I bought the book, I’ve always been swayed by other titles when it came time to choose my reading material; I never actually started reading The Gunslinger. Now (if I can manage reading five books in five weeks), it’s about time I started The Dark Tower series and found out exactly what all the hype is about.

That’s my reading list for the rest of the summer. I likely won’t make it through the whole list, however. In fact, if I manage to finish It by the time school starts, I’ll be happy. At this point, it seems I’ve spent enough time on writing this post----time to get to work on my summer reading list!

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