Summer Reading Kickoff

My kids are out of school; we have a couple upcoming trips scheduled. It’s time to read! Here are the books in my to-be-read pile:

Stoner by John Williams. A couple months ago, the interwebs were buzzing with news of the New York Review Books’ reissue of this “forgotten classic.” I was intrigued. I love quiet, slow fiction (that’s what I tend to write); I’m entranced by character-driven stories. Indeed, I’ve begun Stoner and am drawn into this character’s life. A farmer’s son turned professor, a man who chooses love of literature over familial duty. The back cover blurb promises a novel of “essential solitude”; sure, why not kickoff the summer with beautiful melancholy?

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. I found this title on NPR, in an article recommending memoirs that are “written with heart.” Wave tells the story of the loss of Deraniyagala’s entire family in the 2004 tsunami – spouse, sons, and parents, all lost to the fierce wave. I hope for some form of redemption, some relief, in these pages, and I wonder what I will find. As a mother, wife, and daughter, I cannot imagine enduring this sort of tragedy. But I am eager, in a dreadful sort of way, to read Deraniyagala’s story.

Give Me Everything You Have by James Lasdun. I heard an interview with Lasdun on NPR this past spring, and I was intrigued by the premise of his memoir: being stalked by a former writing student. Creepy, dreadful, harrowing – what can one write about this situation? Listening to Lasdun speak to the interviewer, I was fascinated and terrified by his story and by how the Internet has made this sort of crime easier.

(This isn’t your typical beach-reading list, is it??)

The Tell by Hester Kaplan. A novel focusing on the challenges within a marriage. Addiction, dysfunction, a mysterious neighbor – I’m hooked!

Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy. I wish I had come up with that title. It’s lovely. Even if I dislike the novel, I will always adore that title. I have a feeling it will be my favorite this summer, however. It’s set in Athens, Greece. Young, intelligent characters explore love and life in a way that makes “their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come.” Sounds lovely and amazing!

What’s on your summer list?

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