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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The New Dork Summer Reading List

Last week on Book Riot, I ruminated about what exactly a "summer read" is. My brilliant conclusion: It's a book you read between June and September (hey-yo!).

But, actually, since damn near every media outlet is doing a similar list, here is a bunch of books on my list for this summer. As you can see, I really am confused (much like the Chicago Tribune) about what a summer read actually is. 

Stuff Out This Summer
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn (June 5) — So far, the buzz-book of the summer. It's a mystery about a failed marriage. Looks fantastic! 

Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter (June 12) — After I finished The Zero not too long ago, Walter is rapidly moving up my "favorite writers" list. Can't wait for his new one!

Office Girl, by Joe Meno (July 3) — Chicago author Meno's follow up to his strange family tale The Great Perhaps includes illustrations and photos to highlight his late '90s tale of mid-'20s artists. 

One Last Thing Before I Go, by Jonathan Tropper (Aug. 21) — Two words: Woo. Hoo!  


Stuff I Already Have
Arcadia, by Lauren Groff — Hippies? Yes, please. 

The Newlyweds, by Nell Freudenberger — A story about a mail-order bride? Also, yes, please. 

Home, by Toni Morrison — This may be a one-sitting read, it's only 150 pages. Of course, I can't not read America's only living Nobel in Lit's latest. 

The Darlings, by Cristina Alger — I'm a sucker for stories about intriguing people doing intriguing things in New York City. This should scratch that itch.

HHhH, by Laurent Binet — After I read James Wood's review of this in The New Yorker, I immediately bought it. It's strange story of WWII with the author's own comments mixed in. Sounds like a highly original novel. 

Plane Reads and Classics and Such 
A fair amount of traveling this summer means I'll have time to finally finish up the Vince Flynn Mitch Rapp series, and the leisurely summer evenings mean I'll try a few more substantial novels, too, including, East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, and Underworld, by Don DeLillo.

What's on your summer reading list? 

28 comments:

  1. I just happened upon HHhH a few days ago and, though I didn't buy it, I probably will before the summer is done.

    Last I meant to line up the Fourth of July & Garrison Keillor's "Liberty" & failed, so that's on the agenda for this year. Also, a Goodreads friend raved about Sergio de la Pava's "A Naked Singularity" (which is said to have elements of DFW & Pynchon, et al), so I'll probably be jumping into that soon.

    After that, John Sayles's "Dillinger In Hollywood" will probably be in the mix, and I'm overdue to get back into the Flashman books.

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    1. Even though Wood kind debunks the idea behind Bidet's writing the way he did - that historical fiction should not including fictional characters, basically - he still admired the book. And it just sounds like a fascinating way to tell a story.

      Elements of DFW, you say? I'm intrigued - and am rushing off to Goodreads to looking into Pava. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  2. I just finished Children in Reindeer Woods and it would've been a great summer read had I waited...lots of tension and surprise. But, for my own summer, I am working on hitting Don Quixote or Moby Dick. At least that's what I say each summer.
    In reality, I'd like to get a Philippe Claudelfor elegance, or a new Massimo Carlotto or Diego de Silva for laughs. Those guys kill when you need a laugh.

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    1. So you're in the "great, heavy classics" summer reads camp? I applaud your ambition!

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  3. Summer reading for me is anything that doesn't make me think too hard, that I can read without much struggle. With that in mind, Gone Girl is perfect. Go get it the second it comes out. it is CRAZY GOOD. And yeah, anything Tropper is guaranteed to be a winner!!!

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    1. Another ringing endorsement for GONE GIRL... Haven't heard a bad word said about it yet, except that it kept them up all night, and caused some distrust among spouses. But that's worth it! ;)

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  4. Summer reading, to me, is usually light, fun books that serve mostly as entertainment. But, because I usually associate summer with having a lot of free time and getting a ton of reading done, I'll read just about anything. I don't make lists, just read whatever strikes my mood at the time. You've got a bunch of cool books on your list though so I'm sure I'll be adding some of them to my TBR.

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    1. I hear ya - my list certainly isn't set in stone (indeed, I just got THE PASSAGE and a silly Daniel Silva thriller from the library). It's just a starting point to help catalog the books I think I want to read this summer. ;)

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  5. I'm really looking forward to Gone Girl, both reading it and sharing it with my dad, sister, brother, and wife when we're all on family vacation in July--watching them all read Sharp Objects and gasp at the right times a few years back was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had with sharing a book. Along those same lines, I'm also looking forward to the new Tana French. (And oh, East of Eden is a wonderful book--enjoy it!)

    As for thomsirveaux's mention above of Sergio De La Pava's A Naked Singularity: I'm the book's publicist, so discount this as you see fit, but it's brilliant and funny and smart and weird and unforgettable. I know that "publicist really likes thing he's publicizing" is nothing new, but I loved it before I was its publicist--so much so that I put on a full-court press to convince my employers to publish it--and I can't recommend it highly enough. The Slate review gives a really good sense of what the book is like.

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    1. Should I be embarrassed that I've never read Tana French? She keeps popping up in discussions of underrated writers - and I didn't realize she had a new book this summer.

      I'd never heard of Pava until this post, and just did some research and put it on reserve at the library. It sounds absolutely fascinating.

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  6. I read Beautiful Ruins and thought it was okay- I'll be interested to see you're review.

    Underworld has been the monkey on my back for like eight years- I can never seem to finish it. Hopefully this summer for me too.

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    1. Just okay? Ah, man - well, I still can't wait! ;)

      Underworld: I don't know much about it, except that it's supposed to be DeLillo's magnum opus, and it starts with baseball - so those two are enough to convince me to give it a go.

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  7. Gone Girl, without question, is one of the best books of the year that I've read. I LOVED this twisted and dark story and Gillian Flynn is the quintessential master of it. This is her third book and I loved this one even more than her debut, Sharp Objects. Good summer reads when you need a little dark and twisted!

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    1. Woohoo for GONE GIRL! Thanks for adding to the buzz - and my excitement to check it out. I dig dark and twisted. ;)

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  8. Underworld's quite the mental workout. Good luck with it man, for it is a tremendous book.

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    1. Good to hear - I'm excited to try to it!

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  9. Did you see my mini-review/tease of Beautiful Ruins? I think it's worth the anticipation but definitely a departure from his other works. The rest of the list looks excellent. Happy summer!

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    1. Just read your review now - nicely done! Hightens the anticipation for sure. From what I've read of Walter (THE ZERO, FINANCIAL LIVES, and the short story about zombies), it doesn't seem as though he really has a "type."

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  10. I just put a list of June books coming out on http://www.thecuecard.com/. Of them, I'm most interested in Gone Girl and The Age of Miracles which are getting good press, though Beautiful Ruins also perked my interest. I havent gotten to July books yet. Enjoy your summer reads!

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    1. You too! I'm intrigued by The 500, too - heard good things about it. And I noticed in your The Art of Fielding review that you're a Reds fan. Me too - so, cheers to that!

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  11. Also reading Beautiful Ruins and should have a review up next week. It's an amazing book so far and I'm going to try The Financial Lives of Poets some time this season.

    With The Art of Fielding out in paperback,I plan to give that book a whirl,despite my lack of love for baseball(then again,if Nick Hornby can make soccer interesting,I should be willing to let another author dazzle me with a sports related story).

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    1. You've probably heard this from a number of people, re: The Art of Fielding: You don't have to be a baseball fan to love it. Can't wait for your Beautiful Ruins review - really excited for that book!

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  12. I just downloaded Newlyweds- it takes place partially in my hometown of Rochester, so I'm excited about that! After everyone's comments, I'm going to check out Gone Girl, too.

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  13. I read Beautiful Ruins & have to agree with Christine's earlier assessment - meh. And definitely a departure from his other books. It's not bad, just a little softer than his other stuff. By the by, you really need to read Citizen Vince, Greg, if you're this far into Walter's canon. Seriously. My favorite of his, by far.

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  14. Hi, Greg. Sorry to stray from topic, but Angelya at The Oaken Bookcase just posted about this, and I want to make sure my book-specific friends know about it. Take a look at www.armchairbea.com, and if it grabs you, jump in. My material roams a little far afield to get much out of this, but it might be right up your alley!
    Enjoy,
    - Jack

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  15. Will this be your first read of East of Eden? I'm jealous. There are passages in that book that are as memorable for me as any in American literature--one of my favorite books ever, and an absolutely perfect book for summer. My uncle more or less goaded me into reading Gravity's Rainbow along with him; as a teacher, I get some good, long uninterrupted reading windows over the summer, so I'm hoping this is the year I finally get through GR. I'm about ten percent of the way in and have finally felt like I'm past the first impenetrable hurdle--a bit like the girl in Labyrinth slipping between the first walls. Not sure if I'll find any sort of center, but looking forward to trying, and also to reading your review of Steinbeck.

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  16. Gone Girl is EVERYWHERE lately - I wish I already owned it. Because my summer reads are books I already own. I have to start tackling those shelves already... they are too daunting. So until September, it's just me and the books I already have (which means me and several hundred titles to choose from). I'm hoping to read a lot of Hemingway too (I'm in the midst of challenging myself to read everything he's written, of which there is A LOT). Here's to hoping.

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  17. Waiting to read CANADA by Richard Ford.

    I have it on my bedside table but promised myself to save it until I go on vacation next week!

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