Saturday, May 27, 2017

Summer Reading for Bibliophiles

Summer is prime reading time in my life.  An old rhyme from my elementary school days – with a minor alteration – went something like this, “No more papers, no more books, no more student’s dirty looks.”  Following is a list of titles on my TBR pile.

The Little French Bistro by Nina George.  George was a recent discovery of mine, and this is the second of her novels translated into English.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Little Paris Bookshop, and I am sure this one will please.  While we are on the subject of French Literature, Lydia Davis has produced a new translation of one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, Madame Bovary.  And, before we leave Europe, consider Skylight by Jose Saramago.  He always delights with his peculiar characters and wonderful situations.  If you haven’t read him yet, Stone Raft, in which the Iberian Peninsula breaks away from France and floats into the Atlantic is another worthwhile read along with All the Names

For some fun reads, Carl Hiaasen has a recent novel, Razor Girl, the story of a reporter/detective in Miami dodging his editor and the police.  The tremendously funny Tina Fey has Bossy Pants on my TBR.

Colm Tóibín is among the masters of literary fiction today.  His latest novel is Nora Webster, the story of a woman widowed in her 40s with four children.  Richard Ford has a new novel, Let Me Be Frank with You.  His novels are always interesting and well-written.  For an interesting collection of letters, Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch, 1934-1995, has been squealing for my attention in what I am sure will be a fascinating look at one of the best writers of the 20th century.

On the more serious side is Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening.  This has been around for quite a few years, and I have read it a couple of times, but this is one relaxing read even on a second or third read.  Laurence M. Krauss, the noted physicist and author of A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing is a great read for the amateur scientists in us.

When I spent a year at a boarding school back in 1962-63, I was severely limited in the range of available reading material.  So I thought I would time-travel back, and reconnect with G.K. Chesterton in The Flying Inn.  My next foray into the work of the outstanding writer, Kent Haruf, is Benediction.  Underestimated, un-hyped, all of his books are wonderful reads.  Plainsong and Our Souls at Night are also fantastic.  I have a Lily King novel I hope to get to this summer: Father of the Rain.  And a novel by Lisa King, Death in a Wine Dark Sea from the excellent independent publisher, Permanent Press. 

I also want to get to the recent Nobel Prize winning author, Patrick Modiano and, what some call his masterpiece, The Occupation Trilogy.  Another important Nobel winner is J.M. Coetzee.  I have read a number of his works, and they are all thought provoking, interesting, and they will not let you quit until the last page.  Two of his works are on my radar: The Childhood of Jesus and The Schooldays of Jesus.

And finally, I close this list with two works for bibliophiles: Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles, and Pencil by Herman Petroski.  After reading The Book of the Book Shelves, I might just start off my summer reading right here.

--Chiron, 5/27/17

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