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Adventures in a Book Nook: A Review of My Summer Reads Part 1

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Denison chapter.

With 3 months off of school, the summer provided me ample time to finally work through my “Want to Read” list on Goodreads. I ended up reading 15 books, all from different authors, and in a variety of genres. So… here is my unsolicited opinion on some of them.

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Starting the summer off strong, I read all of the first Harry Potter book on my first day home. Embarrassingly, this was actually the first time I ever read the book. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “How can any self-respecting reader live a whole 18 years having never read one of the most famous fantasy books ever written?” The answer to that: who ever said I have respect for myself? Kidding, Kidding. The truth is that in elementary school when everyone else read it, I thought I was too cool to read it. This absurd decision definitely ended up hurting my trivia abilities.

Nevertheless, I felt that it was finally time to get cultured. I enjoyed the book and was able to finish it really quickly. I found it entertaining, but it didn’t fully live up to the hype (sorry). I think a lot of that is because it had no childhood nostalgic importance to me. I watched the movie after, and obviously, the book was better. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone gets a 7.1/10 from me.

2. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

I actually had the opposing opinion in regards to the movie vs. book debate for Call Me By Your Name. I preferred the movie a lot more. For starters, Timothee Chalamet. Secondly, the book was from Elio’s perspective, and I’m sorry, but I have no interest in being of the mind of a teenage boy- I am admittedly biased, though, because I almost always prefer a woman as a protagonist. I still really enjoyed the book; I was definitely able to connect to Elio and his feelings for Oliver. He takes it quite a bit further than I ever will, but hey, you do you Elio. 7/10.

3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

*Hunger Games whistle tune*

I reread the first 2 books in the Hunger Games series at the end of the school year in preparation for the arrival of the Ballards of Songbirds and Snakes movie, and had just been waiting to get my hands on this book. While it is probably the worst of the Hunger Games books, it was still an absolute pleasure to read it. I loved being able to compare the books to the movies and just developed a deeper appreciation for the series as a whole. 8/10.

4. Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rooney’s style of writing takes getting used to with the whole no quotation marks thing. I mean, how did you ever pass an English class with that habit? Regardless, Normal People was one of my favorite books I read this summer. Maybe even of all time. I saw parts of myself in both Marianne and Connell. The storyline itself was pretty flat, but the depth of the characters is so great that it didn’t matter. I only recently started annotating books, and let’s just say I marked all over this one. Normal People poked all the right buttons in my mind and was scary relatable. It was emotionally taxing, but thats what I want out of a book. I have been trying to get all my friends who haven’t read this book yet to do it. Normal People gets a 9.6/10.

5. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Coming off of Normal People, I was on a mission to figure my life out. After coming off that emotional rollercoaster, I wanted something that felt supportive, and boy did Rilke deliver. As Letters To a Young Poet is actually a collection of letters, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to a young poet who had become quite jaded and disillusioned. The first few letters were fine, but the rest were amazing. He gave advice I needed to hear. I read the book on my kindle, loved it so much that I ordered it off amazon, GOT THE WRONG BOOK DELIVERED, then reordered because I was desperate to have a paper copy. I marked up the book and sent it off to my fellow Her Campus writer, Meg, because I needed someone else to have read it. 8.6/10.

These 5 books bring us up to May 19th, meaning we still have a lot to go. I think the overall theme so far shows that I read a lot of books that have movie or television adaptations. Who knew? Well, until next time.

Alex Bergman

Denison '26

Alex is a sophomore at Denison University. She's a English Literature major and religion minor. She enjoys reading, going on walks, and listening to incredibly depressing female artists.