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Sunday, July 24, 2011

How's your summer reading coming along?

A few days ago-- okay it was a few weeks ago-- a friend asked what I'd recommend for her to read. She had some surprising time on her hands and was looking for something wonderful.  I promised I'd think about it, but I let her down. I never made that list.

Now the summer's halfway over. (Sorry, Sally!)

All I've been reading this summer so far is kids' books. Really good ones.
My friend has kids and she reads to them a lot. But that's not what she wanted.

So instead, I've been thinking about books I WISH I WERE READING. From what others have recommended to me.

And here goes:

1. Amy Tan's Saving Fish from Drowning
Another friend loved it. Here's a bit of what they say about it on Book Page:

... 2005 novel about an American group whose Asian excursion goes horribly, horribly wrong. Reading along as the travelers experience increasingly alarming misadventures will make any bumps in your own travel plans pale by comparison. ..Saving Fish from Drowning was a departure for Tan, and one that struck a discordant note for some of her fans, but I enjoyed every stop on this multicultural itinerary. —Lynn Green, Editor 

2. Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad
Almost embarrassed to admit I have yet to read this. And it's even downloaded on my Kindle. Oh, dear.

3. Ann Pachett  The State of Wonder
If I had to list a Top 10 Favorite Books of all Time, BEL CANTO would make the cut.

4. Geraldine Brook's Caleb's Crossing.
At least half my reading friends have said this is a terrific summer book.

5.  The list is already overwhelming me just writing it, but I really think I'll like this. It reminds me of my own grandmother's daring and my husband's grandmother's Wyoming adventures.
Nothing Daunted, a new book by Dorothy Wickenden.

6. Come to think of it, I have started my summer reading.
I read Shanghai Girls on an airplane trip because Book Club diva Kathy Patrick interviewed Lisa See about the sequel and it sounded like a perfect summer book. And because it was on my shelf as I dashed out the door to the airport. I liked it enough to read the sequel now.

7. And I'm reading Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. Because I needed a little eccentric in my summer, I also downloaded this one to my Kindle.  I'm actually enjoying it, in a weird and wacky way. 

So I guess I can say I've officially tackled my Summer Reading list. And it's not even August yet.

Hope this helps, Sally and all my friends who've asked. I know it's late- but better July than December? 

Anything that's an absolutely Not To Be Missed book that I've overlooked?


Augusta Scattergood said...

And here's one I forgot, highly recommended in several reviews:
DOC by Mary Doria Russell. Here's what Booklist says:
Booklist Review
Russell creatively reimagines Doc Holliday's early years in this authentically detailed, evocatively rendered fictional biography. Beginning long before the ill-fated shootout at the O. K. Corral, she paints a portrait of the tubercular young Doc, heading west for his health. Thoughtful, well-educated, and genteel, the young would-be dentist joins forces with the love of his life, Maria Katarina Harony, a Hungarian prostitute with a razor-sharp intellect and her own interesting backstory. As dentistry takes a back seat to gambling, and the action moves to Dodge City, Doc also befriends Morgan Earp, and a host of familiar real-life figures are introduced. What elevates the novel above standard western mythologies lies in its crystalline characterizations, crackling dialogue, and vivid, less than idyllic descriptions of the time and the place. This robust realization of the man before he was replaced by the legend is not for genre fans only.--

Lee Stokes Hilton said...

You mentioned Shanghai Girls as a sequel, but not to what. So just in case there's anyone who hasn't read "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," I can't recommend it enough. It'll be interesting to see if they can come close with the movie.

And my own summer reading is "The Soul of a New Machine," by Tracy Kidder. It's ancient (1981), but REALLY well written, and a fascinating look at the beginnings of a technology that's now ubiquitous.

Lee Stokes Hilton said...

I should have started my comment by saying what a nice post this is. Always good to see what others are reading!

Augusta Scattergood said...

DREAMS OF JOY is See's new sequel to Shanghai Girls. Just out this spring, I think. I loved Snow Flower, but didn't care much for another of her books, Peony in Love.
And trivia Leslie would love? I think her mother is Carolyn See, Washington Post book reviewer, novelist, etc. I need to verify that, but I believe I read it somewhere.
Shanghai Girls was a good book for summer, which is a good thing since, so far, it's been my only true summer read. If you don't count the big stack of kids' books I've worked my way through.

ann bushe said...

Great list, Gusty! And, Lee, I loved Soul of a New Machine. I'm reading Brick Lane, about Bangladeshis in London, also not a new book. I love books about the clashing of cultures. Thx for tip about Shanghai Girls. I did really like Snow Flower too.

Kirby Larson said...

Oh, I'm reading Nothing Daunted right now! It's a hoot -- picturing those debs way out there in wild country.

Thank you for the lovely, lovely review of The Friendship Doll, too!