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.
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.
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?