Now that summer is officially here (though you’d never guess it from the rainy weather), I’m dreaming about vacation. Whole days of uninterrupted
sloth reading by the pool. Which begs the question: Reading what? Last week I asked for your summer book suggestions. I got so many excellent ideas, I thought I’d share some of them…
Me: I must be living under a rock because I’d never heard of this writer (and to think I used to have the entire NYT list memorized back when I worked in publishing). But I’m excited to learn about these funny, sensitive, breezy and smart novels about coming-of-age and coming to terms with family, parenthood and death (in a comic way! At least, according to the jacket copy).
Bob: “Ever since reading A Question of Honor by Lynne Olson and her husband, Stanley Cloud, I have new respect for the Poles and all things Polish!”
Me: This subtitle of this book is The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten heroes of WWII, and it’s about a band of Polish fighter pilots and the crucial role they played in the Battle of Britain.
Shannon: “On your recommendation Ann, I’m reading The Little Stranger right now…and can’t put it down…which means all of Sarah Waters’ books are about to go on my library list. Also on my list of things to read this summer: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs. (The first three chapters are here.) After having sprinted (laughing the whole way) through Packing for Mars, I’m also taking a leisurely stroll through Spook, both by Mary Roach.”
Me: I LOVED The Little Stranger even though it scared the bejeezus out of me. It’s a ghost story set in post-war England, but it’s about so much more than the supernatural: class, ambition, desire. I’m a huge fan of Sarah Waters. Miss Peregrine’s Home looks like an amazing (and unique) reading experience — a novel about a remote island, an abandoned orphanage, and the dangerous children who might still be alive — illustrated by spooky vintage photographs — eeek! And I can’t wait to check out Mary Roach’s quirky science writing, both Packing for Mars, about the ins and outs of space travel, and Spook, her examination of the afterlife.
Matthew: Life of Pi is great.
Me: I think I’m the last person on earth who hasn’t read and loved this magical, expansive novel. Thanks for reminding me about it!
CK: “Three items for this summer: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, The Greater Journey by David McCullough, a history of Americans in Paris, and … the final Stieg, which I’ve been saving since LAST summer!”
Me: I’m a little worried I won’t have the patience for Jennifer Egan’s time-hopping, post-modern novel (which won the National Book Award) but I’ve heard so many raves, I’m eager to dip into it.
Me: I love the idea of a continuing story of two sisters, set against the backdrop of China and the United States from the 1930s and beyond.
Me: I really enjoyed Blood, Bones and Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir of chef-ing in New York. Though the story has some major gaps, there was some beautiful language and unforgettable imagery. And, like so many of you, I can’t wait to read Tina Fey’s memoir.
Me: New York Times reporter Elaine Sciolino’s journalistic look at the role seduction plays in French life and culture has been getting great reviews — and what a timely topic!
Matthew: I just read and enjoyed I Do Not Come to You By Chance which is the set in world of Nigerian 419 scammers.
Me: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s debut novel is an entertaining look at the people behind Internet scams — in case you’ve ever been curious about those emails urging you to help liberate gold bullion bars (and who hasn’t?).
Thank you for the suggestions, mes amis. I can’t wait to start reading!