Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Andromeda/Your Turn: Your Summer Reading

What are you planning to read this summer? New books? Old classics? Any Alaska books in the mix? Books best experienced via audiobook (for those long vacation drives -- I'll soon be taking one to Joshua Tree National Park)? E-books?

Just to prime the pump, my June to-read list is eclectic as always, but more tilted toward nonfiction than it's been in a long, long while. On my upcoming trip to California, where I'm looking forward to slowing down and paying more attention to the physical world for at least a few days in the desert, I plan to listen to Chet Raymo's One Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe, a book of his musings based on making the same short walk every day for 37 years. In addition to reading Raymo, I plan to catch up on a pile of classic memoirs I missed over the years.

For humor but also because it is a poignant story that addresses how we might change as a culture in response to technology (a subject that never fails to intrigue me) I'll read Gary Shteyngart's dystopian Super Sad True Love Story, which Publisher's Weekly called "a pointedly May-December love story, complete with references to Chekhov and Tolstoy" that is on par with Cormac McCarthy's The Road as a convincing and frightening vision of the future.

Following Philip Roth's win last month of the Man Booker International Prize for a lifetime of works (more on that in another post), I've been revisiting old Roth favorites, and planning which gaps to fill, so I've got about five early Roths lined up to read this summer.

It's hard to choose between Alaska books old and new that I do plan to read -- the pile grows and grows. At the top are Don Rearden's The Raven's Gift and Lynn Schooler's Walking Home. But there are many more. Having a big backlog of reading used to make me feel guilty. Now it just makes me feel happy and secure -- like having a freezer full of salmon.

What are you looking forward to reading? And do you know of any exciting new Alaska books coming out this summer or fall?


Nancy Lord said...

It won't be out until October, but I had the good fortune to just read an advance copy of Hank Lentfer's Faith of Cranes: Finding Hope and Family in Alaska (The Mountaineers Books). Hank lives in Gustavus and has published in places like Orion and some anthologies (and co-edited Arctic Refuge: A Circle of Testimony), but this is his first book--and it's fabulous.

Michael E. said...

I second that -- I just reviewed it for Audubon, and it's good. Tom Sexton's new collection was just reviewed in the New York Times Books section as one of five must-read poetry books.

Tele said...

Glad that Walking Home is on your pile - it's wonderful! It was the one book I took along on a recent longline trip, knowing that it would be more important to sleep during downtime than read. Turned out to be the worst book I could have taken, in that regard, as I spent all of my brief nap opportunities flying through it. Was pretty cool to read such engaging, expansive history while drifting off the coastline that was so engagingly written about.

Eowyn Ivey said...

I just saw a woman at the airport reading Super Sad True Love Story, and I had to ask her what she thought of it. She said it was great, but weird. That got my interest, so I'm adding it to my list, too. Right now, I'm part way through Born To Run. Just did reading marathon of Little, Brown & Co. novels in preparation for Book Expo -- highly recommend American Dervish and The Art of Fielding when they come out later this year.

Anonymous said...

Super Sad True Love Story is a great read, and I think one of the best books I've read about this American moment (even though it's set in the future.) Read with Franzen's Freedom--both capture the feeling of these times in a totally different way.

Also, Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall--lyrical, wonderful, engrossing.

I'm heavy on the white male middle aged guys these days, I guess. Time to find some women.