5 Books I Intend to Read Soonish

June 20, 2011 § 6 Comments

It takes awhile for me to pick up a book and commit to it. Once I do, I’m a fast reader. But before the moment my hand reaches out to pick my next book up, I need to see the book on shelves, in lists, through recommendations by people I know. I need to be coerced by the cover art, to trip over the book a few times as it lies in piles around my house, and to mention that I’m reading the book to someone who will undoubtedly ask me how it was the next time I see them, for which I’ll get right down to the business of reading.

So with recent poll results revealing an overwhelming majority (4 votes!) who want a summer reading list, I thought I’d share a few books that I’ve “been meaning to get around to” for some time. Thus you, readers, can hold me accountable for my literary actions.

Abi’s To-Read List With a Vague and Ambiguous Deadline of Somewhat Soonish (FYI–lists with long titles are far more likely to be successful. Also lists with vague and ambiguous deadlines.)

1. The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

First of all, what a great title. Secondly, Ann Patchett is also the author of Bel Canto, one of my favorite novels for its mix of romance, terrorism, opera, and English language learning in South America. Despite my love for Bel Canto and my long-revised appreciation for its ending, I have yet to read anything else she’s written.

2. A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel

This might not be the most lighthearted fare for summer reading. As much as I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Elie Wiesel, his writing tends towards the dense, dark, and sad. Best known for his Holocaust memoir Night, I think his fiction is equally powerful and probing. As I now have this book checked out from the library, the deadline in which to read it is a little more defined.

3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

A contemporary classic, I’m embarrassed I haven’t read it yet. And I was reminded of this lack in my life when I heard of Chabon’s new project with his wife, author Ayelet Waldman. They’re co-writing a fictional series for HBO titled “Hobgoblin,” about magicians and con-men who battle Hitler in WWII. It’s an interesting concept, mixing such a distinct and recent historical event with fantasy. We have a slew of contemporary-set fantasy books (i.e. Harry Potter), but with an event that is so well documented and familiar, I’m curious to see how they will reinterpret this period in light of magic. And if a war that is always approached with such gravitas will hold up well mixed with the “low art” of fantasy drama.

4. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Really, this selection could also be The Namesake or The Unaccustomed Earth. I’ve yet to read anything of Jhumpa Lahiri, but I’ve heard great things about her and I’m excited for the growing popularity of Indian and Indian American authors on the international literary scene. I recently met an Indian graduate student spending the summer researching in the U.S., and after an enlightening conversation regarding chai, monsoons, and Jhumpa Lahiri, I was once more encouraged to explore her works.

5. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

I’ve seen this on so many book lists since it was translated into English and finally picked up a copy at a used book store. It’s about books (the best kind of plot), mysterious goings-on, and (I hope) a bit of magical realism. I’m intrigued.

What books are on your to-read list this summer? What books would you recommend?

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§ 6 Responses to 5 Books I Intend to Read Soonish

  • “Kavalier and Clay” is an amazing book. One of the best books I’ve read in years. Most of it is a page-turner, I thought but there are some part that a bit difficult. This summer I’ve been trying to read “A Confederacy of Dunces”, which everybody tells me is hilarious – and parts of it are funny – but I just can’t seem to get into it.

    My next project will (for the 3rd summer in a row) try and finish “Gravitys Rainbow”. I get further and further every time, but it’s a confusing and hard novel to read.

    • I tried A Confederacy of Dunces too, and I’m all for a good satire, but I was so bored, I barely got past the first 20 pages. You’ll have to let me know if it’s worth it.

      I hadn’t heard of Gravitys Rainbow, but the wiki synopsis sounds interesting.

      • Leah says:

        I couldn’t get past the first 20 pages either! And Dad loved it. Or someone did whose reading patterns I admire.

        I still haven’t read The Corrections (10 or however many years later), but I keep checking it out at the library. Have you read it?

  • Steven Grahmann says:

    I would actually suggest “Summerland” as a gateway into Chabon…plus it has summer in the title, so there’s that. I also found (online) a draft of a script he submitted for Spiderman 3, when the producers were shopping for screenwriters for that movie. Just something weird I thought you might find interesting. Or not!

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