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Summer reading

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Yes, this is a segment of one of my (adorable, built-in) bookshelves. Judge if you must.

I’ve made an effort to keep track of what I read this year, in an oh-so-scientific list kept in the back of my cute little Moleskine planner, updated every time I finish another book or two.  So far, I’ve read…

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova [A Christmas gift from GP. Loved it.]
Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger [I was excited to see a new book by the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I read when the movie came out. Never ended up seeing the movie, but really enjoyed both of these– unrelated to each other– books.]
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larsson [Yes, everyone and their mom is reading this series.Yes, you should read them, too. Also, you should see the awesome Swedish movie they made based on this book, and not the inevitably crappy American version, which is forthcoming.]
The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb [Remember Nearly Every Single Terrible Thing that’s happened in America in the past decade? Columbine, September 11th…? Yeah, they’re all in here. This book made me cry nearly all the way through.]
The Girl Who Played with Fire, Steig Larsson [Maybe even better than the first book. Loved it.]
Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Jeff Lindsay [Ok, so here’s the deal: I am crazy in love with the Dexter tv series, and picked up this book in a used bookstore nearly a year ago. While I enjoyed it, I think this is one of the rare instances in which the story was told better onscreen.]
Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane [Here is a case in which I knew I didn’t want to see the movie– hello, scary bald shushing lady from the previews!– but wanted to check out the story since this guy also wrote Gone Baby, Gone and Mystic River, two stories that I really enjoyed onscreen. Oh, and the “No way, that ending would be way too obvious. He wouldn’t dare do that” assumption? Totally wrong. I called ti even before I began reading the book.]
When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead [It had its moments, but ultimately I felt like it fell pretty well short of all the comparisons to A Wrinkle in Time.]
Looking for Alaska, John Green [You know the song from A Chorus Line where the girl sings about feeling “nothing”? That is completely how I felt when the supposed-to-be tragedy in this book happened.]
Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian, Scott Douglas [Recommended to me by one of my librarian mentors, I liked this book way more than I liked Marilyn Johnson’s librarian rah-rah book— though in her defense, it may just be because I detest the term “cybrarian” and love McSweeney’s.]
The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak [A really interesting and different World War II book– especially given that it was a YA selection.]
Angelology, Danielle Trussoni [I had heard this described as “like the Da Vinci Code, but well-written,” and recommended by NPR. Certainly both of these things count as points for it, and I liked it as a “let’s not think too much about things. It’s sunny outside!” book.]
Solar, Ian McEwan [I found this wry and Very British. Is this typical McEwan? It’s the first thing of his that I’ve read, and was sort of put off from Atonement because of my loathing for Keira Knightley. Fine, that doesn’t make sense, but it’s the way things are.]
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert [Fine, yes, this is the follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love, which I will admit I enjoyed. I don’t know that I was the target audience for this book, as I’ve never been that suspicious of marriage, and already knew about things like couverture and other scary oppressive things that can– and historically have– come with marriage. Spoiler: they get married at the end.]
The Midnight House, Alex Berenson [An NPR recommendation about secret CIA torturers, which I read on flights to and from the east coast over Memorial Day weekend. Since it was from the library, I didn’t have to deal with the small amount of guilt I feel when I end up buying books on a whim at the airport.]

All right, so…given all of the above, here’s what I have on the summer reading slate. Since it’s my last summer as a student (I graduate in December! But the part-time internship is ongoing, so it’s not as though I’m getting much of a break.), I thought I would try to get every page in that I possibly could. (Sidebar: I had created this whole wonderfully long list, which has since gone missing. Neither the cat nor GP has any knowledge of its whereabouts. I’m bummed, but have tried to recreate the list here.) Have you read any of these?

A Week in December, Sebastian Faulks [In progress. I’m liking it okay so far, but having a bit of trouble warming up to it fully.]
The Passage, Justin Cronin and Blood Oath, Christopher Farnsworth [Both recommended by NPR, both vampire novels. I figure since I made my way through all of the Twilight books, I owed it to myself to read something that had a main character I was more likely to enjoy. Yes, I hate Bella. Yes, I still read all those dang books.]
For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, Tara Parker Pope [I like her pieces for the NYT, and it’s a book about science and marriage, which should be interesting, right?]
The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell [Recommended by coworkers as sci-fi “plus,” and I work with some pretty literate folks.]
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Steig Larsson [I have to finish the series! Also, am I crazy for thinking that it should be “Hornets’ Nest”? Does only one hornet live in a nest? I thought they were more like bees.]
Roald Dahl: a biography, Jeremy Treglown [RD is one of my favorite authors. I’ll be walking down to the library to pick this one up later today.]
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows [Recommended somewhere, and I know I’ve heard good things. Also waiting for me at the library right this second!]
The Man from Beijing, Henning Mankell [Another thriller from a Swedish author. Thanks for the heads-up, NPR!]
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [The third book in the Hunger Games series, which you need to read, right fricking now. I already have this on pre-order from Amazon.]
Imperfect Birds, Anne Lamott [I’ve read a lot of her short fiction, so feel like it’s probably a good idea to move into her longer work.]
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman  [Likely not The Golden Compass for adults, but I still really enjoy Pullman.]
something(s) by Chelsea Handler [What can I say, I like a lady with a dirty mouth.]
The Lonely Polygamist, Brady Udall [I am fascinated by LDS stuff. Also, recently read a Slate article suggesting that this might be The Great Mormon Novel, so we’ll see how that goes.]

Looking back at this list, it seems as though it is likely too long…but I’ll keep you posted.


About Megan

I read, I write, I drink wine while watching way too much tv. Let's be friends.

2 responses »

  1. Your booklist looks quite good! I have been meaning to put one together but as I’m reading Les Miserables, I don’t think I’ll be getting to too many other books any time soon. Ha. But I also loved The Historian and The Book Thief. I have been very interested in “The Girl…” series. I really like your blog! Cheers!

    • Hey, thanks! I’ll definitely check out your blog as well. Good luck with Les Mis– it’s definitely on my “to read someday” list.


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