Summer Reading: Exploring New Worlds

Photo via bibledude.netSummer is the perfect time to crack open a new book and immerse yourself in different worlds and exciting adventures. If you can't get away, take your mind there. This season, escape your job blues with a cross-country circus tour, a mysterious romp in the Brazilian Amazon, or a journey into the mind of an unusual five year-old boy. Here are my three top picks for summer reading: Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants follows Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary student at Cornell University. A series of tragic events leads Jankowski to run away from school and join the circus. Soon after, he lands a job as the animal doctor for The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth and quickly becomes embroiled in the bizarre world of circus politics. A whimsical romance and an engaging read, the novel's plot is fast-paced and satisfyingly drama-packed.

Ann Patchett's latest novel State of Wonder is a touching tale with masterful prose and a dry sense of humor. Marina Singh, a timid medical researcher for a pharmaceutical company in Minnesota, is suddenly thrust into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Singh is sent to investigate the mysterious death of her lab partner Anders Eckman, who was in Brazil to gather news on the development of a miracle fertility drug. As always, Patchett's characters are a charming, sympathetic crew.

Emma Donoghue's Room tells a story of a captivating five-year-old boy and his life with his mother. Jack's physical world is limited to an 11-by-11-foot room, and his community is his mother and a number of inanimate objects that share a "room" with them. What seems to be a curiously intimate look at a mother-son relationship eventually grows into a harrowing adventure.