In my daily routine, I usually return to my tent somewhere between 8 and 9 p.m.  Given that I go to bed at 10 p.m. most nights, that has left me with a steady block of time to catch up on reading.  Add to that occasional amounts of time spent waiting around, the long journey to get here and a quick reading pace, and I’ve found myself tearing through books.  I’ve already finished several since being here.  My friend Danielle, who works at a small independent bookstore in St. Louis called Left Bank Books (Insert Shameless Plug Here), was nice enough to provide me with a reading list, since I haven’t really kept up with current literature while in Germany.  Overall, it’s been pretty good, despite the occasional miss.  A few of them that I’d recommend:

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline – One of my favorites from the bunch, given what a nerd I am.  Describes a future in which the bulk of humanity lives in a virtual world to escape the dreariness of the real world.  A rich dead man leaves the key to $250 billion dollars hidden within the world.  If you’re someone who appreciates all sorts of 80s pop culture and gaming references, you’ll probably like this book.  This definitely isn’t from the lofty heights of the literary world, but I’m at a stage in my life where I read fiction for fun, not out of any expectation of enlightenment.

The Leftovers, by Tom Perotta – Details life in a post-Rapture society in which Millions of people disappeared suddenly one day.  Not in a Left Behind religious-style, but more in a down to earth account about how people are psychologically coping.  The author’s portrayal of a world that’s mutually half-given up is pretty fascinating.  It definitely makes for a fairly absurd work.

Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby – Very much in the vein of High Fidelity.  Plot Synopsis:  Annie lives in a dull town on England’s bleak east coast and is in a relationship with Duncan which mirrors the place; Tucker was once a brilliant songwriter and performer, who’s gone into seclusion in rural America. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker’s work, to the point of derangement, and when Annie dares to go public on her dislike of his latest album, there are quite unexpected, life-changing consequences for all three.  Given my admitted disgust for a lot of overobsessed post-modern criticism of literature and pop culture, I found a lot to like in this book.  It has a lot of interesting ideas about the internet’s capacity to support the smallest of niches to the point of indulging an almost feverish obsession with even obscure realms of pop culture.

Anyway, I hope someone picks up one of these and enjoys it, though I know how hard it is to get reading done in the real world.