Everyone loves reading in the summer — you can read in the park, read on a patio or read on the beach. What’s not to love? I read a lot of books this past summer, but two of them really stood out from the rest. Both of these books have been adapted to the big screen, but I promise you, the books are better.
The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells
The aliens that invade Earth in The War of the Worlds were Martians, or so the unnamed narrator says. They come down in their spaceships at night and land near Woking, Surrey. Humans are of course naturally curious, and start hanging around the landing sites to see what’s happening.
Little do they know these are not friendly aliens. The Martians stay within their cylinders, which transform into functional, combat-ready tripods (complete with heat rays), because their bodies can’t cope with Earth’s atmosphere. Then, they begin to kill humans, cause endless chaos and drain all hope from humanity. The countryside also gets covered in red weed, which is a plant from Mars that was, perhaps accidentally, brought to Earth.
The novel takes place over the span of a few days, where the unnamed narrator is fleeing from the Martians. He witnesses brutal attacks on fellow humans, failed retaliation attempts from the military and narrowly escapes death himself.
If you’re into science fiction or classic literature, or want to prepare for an alien invasion, you should read this book.
Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton
Hold on to your butts, because this book is one million times better than the movie! Plus, there’s more dinosaurs. I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count, but only got around to reading the book this summer (and yes, the book did come out first).
The plot is generally the same (old, rich white guy creates a dinosaur theme park) but the book is just SO. MUCH. BETTER! It has more backstory, more dinosaur facts and more action. Yes, you read that correctly: the book is more exciting than the movie. It has quite a few violent scenes that didn’t make it into the movie, likely because it would have ruined the family-friendly vibe that many blockbusters strive for. Spoiler: some of the dinosaurs make it off the island!
Crichton’s novel also contains more scientific explanations, and plays up the philosophical questions of “should we be bringing back prehistoric creatures and cloning them?” The book definitely makes you think, which may seem daunting, but remember: dinosaurs.
If you’re into science fiction or popular fiction from the early 1990s, or dinosaurs, you should read this book.