‘Summer reading’ were two of my least favorite words in high school. Those and ‘math class’. Major ugh. Every year, just when you thought you’d be enjoying a summer of lounging around
on the beach in an air conditioned room, teachers handed out the list books to read for your classes in the upcoming year. While the books we had to read were nearly always enjoyable compared to what other schools request their students to read, the simple fact of being told to sit down with someone else’s book choice made me defiant. No! I do NOT want to read Middlesex, Kite Runner or Brick Lane, thank you very much.
As an adult who is, more or less, in charge of her own book choices, I enjoy thinking about what I’ll shove into my brain over the summer. The actual genres don’t always change, though I may indulge in a few more beach-reads than I would during the year (I just finished A Summer Affair and LOVED it), but I have more time to spend on books. My current to-read list is staggeringly long, but I’ve chosen these as my absolute must-dos for summer 2013. What about you?
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan – I read Maine last summer and Commencement the summer before that and adored both. Sullivan’s stories brilliantly weave together different viewpoints and different lives into one cohesive story and this one doesn’t look like the exception. According to the synopsis: “A rich, layered, exhilarating novel spanning nearly a hundred years, The Engagements captures four wholly unique marriages, while tracing the story of diamonds in America,” if that doesn’t sound like good summer reading, I don’t know what does!
Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld – Another new book by an author I love (still need to read American Wife). Sisterland describes an extra-unique relationship between two twins who, after following divergent paths, are brought back together in St. Louis, joined by the possible on-set of disaster. It should be a fascinating reflection about relationships, catastrophe and truth.
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan – You know everyone will soon be talking about Pollan’s newest volume. Pollan takes on the challenge of examining the way in which foods change from their raw to their more-common edible state. The book discusses more than just fire, though. He also examines fermentation, salting and parasite(ing) as he places cooking in a world outside the kitchen. Definitely a book for all the science and cooking nerds out there.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson – I gave my dad a copy of the book for father’s day last year and I still haven’t asked if I could borrow and read it. A huge fan of Bryson’s writing so I have no doubt that this will be a real treat for me. I’m also going to try and read another book of his about English.
The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux – I adore a good travel book any time of the year, but they seem particularly suitable for a summer spent at home. This one describes Theroux’s journey through the Americas, focusing on the process as opposed to the destination. It sounds like a fantastic examination of the differences across the two very-different landscapes of North and South America.
What’s on your summer reading list?