Our Summer Reading List

August 13th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

As it turns out, summer is here (and, based on the non-stop military jet activity that awakened us, so is the President of the United States*), and we haven’t gotten around to publishing the Booksquare Summer Reading List. We wish we weren’t so late, but things happen. Actually, looking back, nothing’s happened, but we don’t have a better excuse. So, in no particular order:

The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton. This is our favorite Wharton, made all the better by the fact that the ending is so…well, we believe your reaction is a barometer of your personality. We prefer the tragic happy ending scenario. Our friend Jenni wants to know why Lily didn’t just, oh, attend law school. Jenni missed our long explanation as to why this wasn’t quite possible. For us, House of Mirth cannot be read without an acknowlegement (and maybe a quick reread) of:

The Awakening – Kate Chopin. We received a helpful suggestion here: instead of calling this a proto-feminist novel (which we dispute on some levels anyway), we are to focus on the sex. Such as it is. So read it for the sex. Or to compare the ending to that of Mirth. Your call.

Animal Farm – George Orwell. We still think the pigs got a bad rap. Thinking requires all sorts of luxury, and everyone knows the best ideas gestate during sleep. And better conclusions emerge if one sleeps on a comfortable pillow with a soft mattress supporting the body. And little booze surely warms the vocal cords in a way water never does.

Watership Down – Richard Adams. We haven’t read this, and the fact makes at least one friend sad. Hence, we are not allowed to complete our summer until we’ve read every drop of this book. Gee, give us a real punishment, why don’t you?

Bet Me – Jennifer Crusie. We have stacks of unread books in the office, and we have to start somewhere. Some would say, “Work your way through the pile in a logical manner.” We say, “Start at the bottom. The potential for disaster is greater.” We are also re-reading Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation, but that’s more of a work thing, so doesn’t count.

Wake Up, Sir! – Jonathan Ames. If we can’t have a servant of our own, we can read about someone who does. So we will.

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip – George Saunders/Lane Smith. Seriously, how long does it take to read a book approximately a half-inch thick? We’re ashamed to say we’re bordering on two years. Making matters worse, it’s a book with pictures, so we don’t have the excuse of too many words. We are embarrassed, and when in that state, often do whatever it takes to correct the situation. Then again, sometimes we just procrastinate until we feel better.

Quicksilver – Neal Stephenson. True story: because of Snow Crash, we ate pizza every day for a month. Except for the days when we had Mexican food. Hmmm, looking back, that was also our (first) lentil soup phase. So perhaps we didn’t have pizza every day. But there was a lot of pizza consumed. Stephenson’s final installment of the Baroque Trilogy is due out toward the end of September, and we have dawdled on starting the first one, believing we will time our consumption perfectly: we will start the final chapter of the second book just as the third hits the shelves. Continuity is very important to us. That and we believe reading Neal Stephenson counts toward our weightlifting quota.

Various Magazines — much to the disgust of the husband, we don’t devour periodicals the moment they cross the threshold (except we do look at the pictures in Sunset’s garden section immediately). We wait until we have a healthy** stack, and then spend a weekend reading. Usually this requires lots of cold beverage and loud music. As it turns out, we’ve managed to drink and listen, but haven’t found sufficient time to add the magazines to the mix.

Hopefully, our reading list will help you shape yours. Or perhaps you will see deficiencies we must correct. We don’t consider lists to be things we must follow — they are more like guidelines. This will be our excuse when we shamefacedly explain why we subscribe to every magazine known to mankind, yet have approximately six months of unread issues. It’s not like fashion changes that rapidly anyway…

  • Seasonal trash: Don’t feel intimidated by the highbrow summer reading lists proferred by the great and good

* – As it turns out, the President was leaving. We have it on excellent authority that he was in town last night — hence, the inability of our friend Kevin to attend the Barney’s sale. Trust us when we say this is an event Kevin calendars a year in advance, and he is suffering.

** – The lower shelf of the coffee table is cracking under the weight.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs