It’s that time again. The season of summer reading lists. I kind of think Summer Reading Lists are a bit silly because most of us probably read all year round and most of don’t drastically change our reading habits just because it’s Summer. I suppose there are folks who only read while on vacation, though I’ve never met one of these people. On the other hand, I love reading these lists, especially ones that go beyond the seasonal blockbuster titles. I frequently am introduced to a book I want to read or am reminded about an author I haven’t kept up with. For those reasons, I’ve come up with my own Summer Reading Lists with a twist.
I am moving next month or maybe in August depending how things go with my purchase of a small condo near the beach. Yup, I’m lucky, lucky, lucky enough to be moving to Asbury Park and although I do enjoy the Summer at the beach, I’m more of a Fall, Winter, Spring at the beach person. I’m already day dreaming about Fall on the beach with my dog, a good book and a heavy sweatshirt.
So, I’m going to share two lists with you. Books I hope to read and in my next post I’ll share a handful of books I have loved.
Books I hope to read in the next few months:
- The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky. While working at Powells Books last year I discovered what many people probably already knew: Ralph Ellison not only had a career as a jazz writer, he also wrote for the WPA. I read Living with Music: Ralph Ellison’s Jazz Writings and was blown away. I’m hoping Kurlansky’s book brings the same kind of joy. The Federal Writer’s Project sent writers out into America to chronicle eating habits and food stories. Some of these FWP writer’s were names easily recognized today, including, Eurdora Welty, Nelsen Algren and Zora Neale Hurston. Kurlansky has collected what he deems the most interesting of the essays. I’m really looking forward to this one.
- Wesley the Owl Stacy O’ Brien. This book tells the story of a scientist’s 19 year relationship with a barn owl she adopted. I tend to randomly choose one of these animal-human relationship books every so often and this one looks to be one I will enjoy.
- Selected Writings of T.S. Spivett Reif Larsen. I admit I’m mostly attracted to the notion of this book as an object. It is probably the artist in me that finds illustrated novels appealing and the added benefit of the main character’s need to map everything. I can’t wait to see his map of loneliness.
- Alice Fantastic by Maggie Estep. Two sisters, a mother, seventeen dogs and assorted lovers? Sign me up. I have loved Maggie Estep since I stumbled across Diary of an Emotional Idiot, when I reviewed it for LJ. I raved about it!
- Gone Away World Nick Harkaway. This is a debut novel that has been described as funny science fiction set in a future world with ninjas, pirates, monsters. I’m either going to love it or get 1/4 of the way through and ditch it.
- Ballad of West 10th St. Marjorie Kernan. I’m not really sure how this got on my list other than I was shopping on powells.com for a mother’s day gift and stumbled upon it. When a dead rocker’s wife and kids get a new neighbor things begin to change. Review after review comment on the lower Manhattan setting.
- The Girls On the Roof Mary Swander. This is not a novel; but, technically a collection of poems about a mother and daughter trapped on a cafe roof after the Mississippi River floods their town. Mary Swander has been my mentor and friend since I was her student at Iowa State University. Her work is both beautiful and hilarious. The fact that her poetry has been turned into plays gives you a little insight when I tell you that her poems are stories.
- Going Away Shoes Jill McCorkle. Finally! A new collection of short stories by one of the most under appreciated masters of short fiction. I first started reading McCorkle in college and this collection is eaglerly anticipated and not just by me.
- Shop Class as Soulcraft Matthew Cranford. I purchased this book for my Dad for Father’s Day and am anticipating that it might get passed back my way. I have often suspected that I should have gone into the trades first and then onto college. My grandfather is a tool and die maker, who still works at the age of 86. My other grandfather was a carpenter and my father has always managed to do something with his hands whether it was restoring old cars, painting murals, stripes and flames on cars or just building things around our house. It was expected I was going to college and I did; but, I have been tempted on more than one occasion to go learn a trade. I’m my grandfather’s grandkid and my father’s daughter. I was on the verge of beginning study in blacksmithing when I injured my hand and that has permanently derailed any plans of doing work that requires strength and/or dexterity in my dominant hand; but, I do still dream. Cranford’s book looks to be a philosophical but easily readable study of skilled work and workers. I look forward to getting my hands on it.
- The Great Perhaps Joe Meno. I love Joe Meno. He is definitely one of the finest young writers out there and frequently overlooked. He has a new book out. I will read it. I don’t really even care what it’s about. He wrote it. I will read it.
I also will tried to read a book or two on Buddhism. I find that it’s good to remind myself of things every so often. I’ve always wanted to read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier…maybe this Fall I’ll do just that.