Happy Summer to you and yours! By now, the season is in full swing, and some of you may even be reading this from your perch on the beach and no doubt have a pile of books already stacked at your feet. (I'm struggling with reigning in my jealousy at the moment over all the teachers out there.) Many of you may remember my summer reading list from last year (you can find it here.) This year's list is a bit more... serious. No chick lit on this one, folks. We're diving deep into the good stuff.

With the sheer amount of fantastic books being made into movies in 2012, I'd be remiss not to urge you to read a few of them in preparation for the film adaptation. (Unless  you're one of those weirdos folks who likes to go back and read after you've seen the film, and in that case, here's what you have to look forward to.) Regardless, here are my Top Three Must Read-and-See for the summer:

[NOTE: I'm not including any pictures from the films and only direct links to the movie trailers, so as not to spoil any of you who like to use your own imagination regarding characters and setting when reading.]

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

For fans of the classics...

Summary: Noted as one of the great classics of 20th Century literature, the novel tells the story of  story of fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, amid lavish parties on Long Island during the height of the 1920s Jazz Age

Why read/see it now: Surely you read this in high school? And you've probably seen the 1974 film adaptation featuring Robert Redford as the alluring Mr. Gatsby. And I'm sure many of you are quite attached to it. But let me tell ya - the 2012 version should give it a run for its money. Produced by Baz Luhrmann (of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet) fame, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the starring role, and is sure to have a soundtrack (the first single from Jack White is already out) and visuals just as unforgettable as Luhrmann's past films.

Check out the movie trailer here.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

 For fans of YA Fiction authors like John Green...

Summary: Poignant, endearing, and both funny and heartbreaking at times, Charlie's story is told through a series of letters to an unnamed "Friend" as he navigates high school. As he delicately straddles the line between wanting to jump headfirst into a world he's becoming more and more engrossed by, while also maintaining his "wallflower" status where he can observe and ponder, Charlie makes close friends, finds a teacher who sees the wisdom in him, and brings to light all of the angst, and also the beauty, found in those who think their way through the teenage years.

Why read/see it now: A personal favorite of mine, this book will reach right into your soul and pull out parts of you that you didn't even know existed. The movie seems a bit more spunky in theme and tone from the book itself, and I am eager to see how it translates to film.

Check out the movie trailer here.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

For fans of historical fiction... and The Walking Dead.

Summary: Abraham Lincoln learns at an early age that his mother was killed by a supernatural predator, thus provoking his bloody (but curiously undocumented) lifelong vendetta against vampires and their slave-owning allies. The book traces Lincoln's life from childhood through assassination, relying upon his “secret diaries” to reveal his central role in the world-wide struggle against vampirism. Yes, really.

Why read/see it now: If any of you saw The Hunger Games movie earlier this year, you probably saw this trailer and found yourself a bit flabbergasted if you hadn't heard of Seth Grahame-Smith's books. (His first novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, is being made into a film set for release in 2013.) The visuals for the movie look top-notch, and come on - do I really have to sell you on the premise?

Check out the movie trailer here.

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