book with lightning inside

Below please find a bit of information and links to help you choose your extra required book for this class. And do please feel free to post your questions or comments about these choices in the Questions forum as part of your own selection process or to add information to the mix for your classmates.

The Summer Tree
by Guy Gavriel Kay
This is one of my very favorite books in the world by my favorite writer of all time. It's a fantasy novel, and it's the first in a trilogy titled The Fionavar Tapestry. It revolves around college students who travel to another world, and it's all about big things like learning to love and doing what's right. There are several characters, so it takes awhile to become familiar with them all---but it's worth it. And if you enjoy it, you have two more novels in the trilogy just waiting for you.

front cover of The Summer Tree from next hyperlink below

This cover image is from Guy Gavriel Kay's website (

Here is an interview with Guy Gavriel Kay (
Kay interview

And below you can read the first pages of the book on Amazon (just click the Excerpt link to the left of the screen).
Excerpt from The Summer Tree

Almost a Woman
by Esmeralda Santiago
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir about a young woman coming of age in the United States. Santiago came from Puerto Rico to New York City as a young girl, and this second autobiography takes us through her young adulthood. Santiago's prose is both accessible and beautiful. I think she captures important realities about growing up in the United States, both as a person of color and as a woman. I've taught this book in several courses, and it's always satisfying to watch it open people's eyes. And at the same time, it's wonderfully human, and I've found both men and women in my classes always relate in a variety of ways to Santiago's experiences growing up.

picture of front cover of book from next hyperlink below

This image of her book (above) is from Esmeralda Santiago's website (

This link offers an interview (text only) with Santiago.
Santiago text interview

And below you can read the first pages of the book on Amazon (just click the Excerpt link to the left of the screen).
Excerpt from Almost a Woman

The Loop
by Nicholas Evans
This is the first book I ever chose for my English 80 students. I think it has something for almost everyone, and I can't tell you the number of times my students told me over the years how surprised they were by how much they enjoyed reading it. It was my first attempt to also appeal to the men in my classes because it seemed to me as though all the other book choices were geared toward women. The Loop is a book about the intricacies and intimacies between friends and families, a young man's coming of age story, a story about standing up for what you believe in, a love story and an exploration of an important contemporary environmental issue (reintroducing wolves into wilderness areas in the United States). Evans also wrote The Horse Whisperer and The Smoke Jumper.

front cover of The Loop

This image (above) is from Nicholas Evans's website (

Here is a text interview with the author. He talks a bit about his research process, too (
Interview with Nicholas Evans

And below you can read an excerpt from his novel from his website.
Excerpt from The Loop