Recommended Reading for June

RecommendedReading

We had an uninvited visitor over Memorial Day weekend: a 5-foot-long Black Rat snake (not poisonous, thank Goodness). On Sunday, we were all intrigued by the snake, since it hung out in the bushes at the edge of the yard. On Monday, we suddenly discovered that it was wrapped around the lattice of our deck, right below where we had just had lunch. Suddenly, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic anymore. These snakes lay their eggs in June, and now I am afraid we’re going to have lots of baby snakes under the deck. And every time I open the curtains in the morning, I half-expect the snake to be wrapped around the hibiscus tree I have next to the sliding door, waiting for me. This is nonsense, of course (I hope), but it got me thinking about finding book titles with snakes or serpents for June’s recommended reading.

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I had to give up on that idea because most of the snake books are reference books for children. I did find one great non-fiction book title, though: Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery. I didn’t think I would ever see the word “Skulduggery” in a book title. Sadly, the book itself doesn’t appeal to me much. Since book titles proved to be a bust, I tried to come up with a few books in which snakes play a role—other than the Bible and Harry Potter. So here’s June’s recommended reading, brought to you by the snake:

  1. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
  2. The Reptile Room, Lemony Snicket
  3. Anthony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare
  4. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
  5. The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis (suggested by Lori)
  6. Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion (suggested by Jaqui)
  7. Awakening, Sharon Bolton (suggested by Helen)
  8. Snake Ropes, Jess Richards (suggested by FictionFan)
  9. The Lost City of Z, David Grann (suggested by CJ)
  10. Under a Painted Sky, Stacey Lee (suggested by CJ)

Do you have a book to add to the list?

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24 comments

  1. We don’t usually see snakes over here in the UK. I’ve handled pythons and think they’re beautiful and rather cuddly, but don’t much like the one in your picture, non-venomous or otherwise. Useful creature though if you have decking (often a harbour for rats).

    • I have no great desire to handle any snake, and frankly, “cuddly” is not the word that comes to mind when I think of a snake. 🙂 Thankfully, no rats in the area, but an abundance of bunnies that would certainly make for a tasty meal.

  2. My recommendation would be Awakening by Sharon Bolton, a gothic crime novel in which snakes play a big part. I don’t usually read contemporary crime but I love Bolton’s books – they’re so atmospheric!

  3. Ooh, I’d be terrified if we had snakes round here! The cats would probably drag them in the cat-flap!

    I’ll suggest Snake Ropes by Jess Richards. I’ll be honest – I haven’t read it, but it has been on the reserve TBR pile for about 4 years now!

  4. Oh no, what a scary find! I recently read the Lost City of Z by David Grnn which was set in the Amazon and the explorers had frequent encounters with massive pythons. I also read half of Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee and I recall the characters eating snake …

  5. My goodness – your visitor would freak me out! On the subject of snakes in literature, I recently Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays last month. It’s a novel packed full of images of California – snakes included. I didn’t mention the reptiles in my review, but the symbolism around snakes (lashing out, poison, death, etc.) features quite prominently in the story.

    • I will add it to the list, thank you. My college professor spoiled Joan Didion for me, although I should probably give her another chance. I can see where snakes fit into her writing.

  6. We saw one of those below our deck one time. It had climbed up a post and eaten a bird’s nest full of eggs, then coiled up on top of it. We knew because we heard the (mama?) bird shrieking. Thankfully haven’t seen one since. I can’t think of a snake-related book other than Harry Potter but I’m working on it!

  7. I just read The People in the Trees, but I can’t remember if there were any snakes. You would think there would be, but if there were, they obviously didn’t play a very big part. Maybe also Euphoria and State of Wonder, just because they also take place in the jungle.
    The Poisonwood Bible is a good one.

  8. The Silver Chair by CS Lewis. Scary scene of woman changing into a snake and having to be chopped to bits!

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