I find that the most difficult thing in my reading life is resisting the urge to impulse buy books wherever I see them: on the $1 shelves outside of The Strand, lying on the sidewalk next to trinkets and old board games at a stoop sale, or anywhere else a book might be spotted. A close second in difficulty level is resisting the urge to buy magazines advertising books to read for the summer.
The summer lists are different from everything else in the way they are categorized. After all, it is the only season in which "beach reads" are highlighted above all else. Oprah has 27 she's recommending, NPR has recommended reads and excerpts from some of their favorites, USA Today has a summer books preview with a great layout, and even CNN is reporting on the reading lists that other magazines have released!
So, what better to do than add to the madness. Here's a little list of my own containing the books I hope to spend time with this summer.
(1) Reread Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, then follow up with March by Geraldine Brooks. March is about the father from Little Women, who was fighting in the Civil War. I loved Little Women as a child and have a cherished copy given to me by my grandmother, and I am always riveted by Geraldine Brooks' writing. Really, what better way is there to start of the summer?
(2) My next selection wins for both longest book for the summer and longest title. The Paris Review Book: of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Baseball, Travels, the Art of Writing, and Everything Else in the World Since 1953 is a collectin of work published in The Paris Review. I have read two short pieces from it over the last few months but would love to dig in and read every bit of it.
(3) Bottlemania by Elizabeth Royte. I loved Garbage Land for it's in depth exploration of a part of my daily world. I'm fairly certain that Bottlemania will do the same thing.
(4) Taft by Ann Patchett. I've read her novel Bel Canto twice. Her writing is absolutely wonderful and the path she takes you on is unexpected in realistic ways that makes you want to keep going back for more.
(5) Finally, I want to read The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester. I've wanted to read this for ages and have finally purchased a copy. I love that it takes a look at something we all take for granted. The dictionary is such a commonplace thing that we never stop to recognize how amazing it actually is.
I'm leaving the rest of my reading options open because who ever really knows that books are going to perk my interest and inspire another impulse buy.
For more information:
NPR Summer Books 2008
USA Today Summer Books Preview