#MyMoravian Summer Book Club: Part I
I know what you're thinking: "but summer is my time to get away from books..." I promise these reads are excellent additions to any Moravian College student's library. Whether flipping pages on some sandy shore, curling up on a rainy day, or simply skimming sections when you're in the mood, these thought-provoking works will keep your mind sharp and your liberal arts soul satisfied while you wait for move-in day to arrive.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
“Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value” -714
This quote exemplifies a major tenet of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, and, to a larger extent, her personal philosophy of objectivism. This 1943 novel follows the life of eccentric architect Howard Roark, a man whose own artistic vision is so pronounced that he refuses to compromise to the artistic conventions of the world around him. He chooses to be an outcast in his field rather than repress his own ideas to join the masses of ‘successful’ architects. I chose this selection for two main reasons:
It is a fantastic narrative that is engaging from start to finish.
It is the seminal work that outlines objectivism by Rand (along with Atlas Shrugged).
While Rand is a divisive author, and objectivism is a hotly contested personal ideology, The Fountainhead is worth the read simply to understand the concept. Regardless of your agreement with Rand’s sentiments, it is hard not to appreciate Roark and the characters Rand puts around him as interesting, detailed, and active. This work will make you think, scoff and scratch your head all the while secretly wishing you were an architect...okay maybe the architect pipe-dream is just me.
The Beach by Alex Garland
The Beach by Alex Garland is a great page-turner for anyone who is interested in a natural paradise with a sinister twist. Essentially, The Beach is like Lord of the Flies for 20-somethings, which is awesome. After receiving a map to a legendary hidden beach, young backpacker Richard embarks on a journey to find his own personal paradise. What he discovers, a utopian society of mismatched travelers desperate to keep their paradise hidden away, isn’t as idealized as he had hoped. Not only is Richard a fantastic character to dig into (he is not exactly a consistent narrator), the writing style carries with it a contemporary punchiness that is perfect for warm weather leisure-reading. If Garland’s name sounds familiar it is because of his screenwriting; think Ex. Machina, Dredd, and 28 Days Later. If you liked the style of those films or just want to read a story about a hidden paradise in Thailand, pick this one up for your next summer trip!
Note: There is also a film adaption of The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio, which I don’t recommend as it is much weaker than the book and strays from major points in Garland’s work. I don’t want to be one of those snarky critics who says "the book is soooo much better," but in this case it truly is!