Pages turn like the turning season

Published 5:31 pm Saturday, April 11, 2015

After the winter hibernation, I’ve turned my reading focus to quick reads.

I tackled my ruminative classics — “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy and “The Stranger” by Albert Camus — over the cold months with shortened days when it seems like we were hunkered down with only brief snippets of daylight.

Now that the time has changed and spring is taking hold, my reading tastes have turned toward less involved books that will give give me a bit more time to enjoy the warmer weather.

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Here are some suggestions for some short or fast-paced reads to enjoy this spring and summer.

 “Who Goes There”

By John Campbell Jr. (written

under pen name Don Stuart)

The sci-fi novella that inspired the movie “The Thing” is a classic suspenseful page-turner about a crew of researchers in an Antarctica camp who discover an alien ship and unwittingly unleash an alien creature that absorbs the shape and memory of anything it devours. While there are many differences to the 1982 film “The Thing,” film fans will enjoy many similarities and its a fun read.

 “Born Standing Up”

By Steve Martin

The worst part about Steve Martin’s breezy autobiography of his standup years is that it goes too quickly. I listened to the audiobook version, also read by Martin, during jogs. And I mixed in listens to a few of his standup albums, which I’d highly recommend while reading the bio. Martin tells how he went from his Los Angeles-area upbringing and childhood job at Disney Land to standup stardom. It’s straight-forward — almost to a fault — and rarely self-serving.


By J.G. Ballard

It’d be impossible to call the story of an apartment building descending into class warfare light reading, but it’s certainly a page turner. J.G. Ballard had me from the first line: “As he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.” The 1975 novel still feels remarkably modern, and it’s being made into a movie starring Tom Hiddleston (Loki in “Thor”). An audiobook narrated by Hiddleston was released in March.

 “Casino Royale”

By Ian Fleming

OK, this book was built up for me, and I could easily nitpick about its shortcomings/flaws. However, James Bond is one of the most famous characters there is, and it’s fun to go back to the source and read the novel that started it all.

 “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

By Truman Capote

Many may know Truman Capote’s 1958 novella for the film starring Audrey Hepburn, but the Capote’s expertly-worded prose take on a different vibe than the movie, even if at times he borders on character obsession.

“Into Thin Air”

By Jon Krakauer

Yes, we just put winter behind us, so why would we want to delve back into snowy weather. However, Jon Krakauer’s first-person account of the 1996 Everest disaster makes you feel like a part of the action as the characters spiral toward their fates.

 “Gone Girl”

By Gillian Flynn

This is the complete opposite of light summer reading; however, it may be the best page turner/mainstream mystery I’ve read. It lives up to the hype. Just don’t give in and look up the spoilers before reading the book — or watching the movie. The more you deny the urge to Wikipedia the plot twists, the better the book is.