"I vividly remember being on an airplane while reading the part about the ebola victim who was on an airplane while the hemorrhagic fever began to cause him to bleed from multiple orifices. I put down the book and slowly began to look at the other passengers around me for signs of hemorrhagic fever."
- Curtis Rogers
Jasper asked some of our community arts leaders their advice on the SIX best literary, visual, and musical indulgences for the sweltery summer months in Columbia. Here's Curtis Rogers' recommended summer reads ...
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
One of my favorite recollections from childhood and probably the first time I remember being completely engrossed in a book. This was probably the first time I read a chapter book and I remember initially being disappointed it didn’t have that many images. I used to be the kid who would judge a book by how many pages had images on them so that it wouldn’t be that many pages to have to read.
Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
My first sci-fi book! This was also the first time I vividly remember reading the book then watching the movie and having the thrill of knowing what was going to happen next. I think this was the book that hooked me on science fiction and also gave me a big interest in virology.
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
This was a summer read and I can’t remember where I was vacationing but I vividly remember being on an airplane while reading the part about the ebola victim who was on an airplane while the hemorrhagic fever began to cause him to bleed from multiple orifices. I put down the book and slowly began to look at the other passengers around me for signs of hemorrhagic fever. Thankfully, no one sneezed or was coughing.
Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson
Cars with computerized components begin killing humans as the robots begin their rise against humanity. What more could you want in a book? This book will really make you think critically about owning a car without a computer in it. Even computerized toys become part of a collective consciousness in their rise to power over humans.
The Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot
Sometimes I don’t read science fiction. I really like poetry, too, and if you like poetry, and I mean really long poetry, this one is for you. It’s the national epic poem of Finland that explains creation through Scandinavian mythology. You’ll enjoy it if you can get around the long Finnish names like Väinämöinen and Lemminkäinen. The Kalevala's metre is a form of trochaic tetrameter that is known as the Kalevala metre. It’s quite rhythmic and I remember that it was a quick read. It’s not for everyone but will certainly make you more interesting (or maybe more boring) at dinner parties.
House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds
On my second trip to Germany, while waiting for my colleague to get off work (she is the librarian for the Hamburg Parliament), I wandered into the Taschen bookstore and found the English language section. After browsing through some titles, I came across this one and was immediately engaged! It’s a story that takes place over 6 million years. It’s a forbidden love story between two “shatterlings” who were cloned from Abigail Gentian millennia ago. Something is trying to eliminate all of the shatterlings and the big question is who?
On another note, I just finished reading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and highly recommend it if you’re into science fiction and looking for a great summer read. When you turn 75, you can enter the Colonial Defense Forces and serve for up to ten years but that’s all you know before you sign up. It’s interesting to find out what really happens to those who enlist and go offworld. Let’s just say genetic manipulation plays a big part and you also get introduced to some pretty intense alien races from whom the CDF fights to protect human colonies across the galaxy. You’re also introduced to skip drive technology and how spaceships travel at faster than light speed.
Dr. Curtis R. Rogers is the Director of Communications for the South Carolina State Library and Coordinates the South Carolina Center for the Book and has been working in the library and information science field for 27 years. He has worked at the Union Carnegie Library, the Charleston County Public Library and has taught courses at the USC School of Library and Information Science. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, Master of Library and Information Science, and Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Carolina. In 2001, he completed the University of the Azores Summer Study Course in Azorean Portuguese Culture and Language and in 2002 completed the Certified Public Manager credential. In 2008, he was President of the SC Library Association. Rogers developed a national library survey on library use of social media for public relations and has presented this survey’s results at the 2009 German Library Association Conference and at the State and University Library of Hamburg. He currently serves as secretary of the SC Academy of Authors, and chairs the USC School of Library and Information Annual Literacy Leaders (ALL) Awards committee.