What are You Reading This Summer?

Lots of magazines and websites put out summer reading lists. For whatever reason, summer is supposed to be a time when you read more, I don’t know. I’m not a seasonal reader. If anything I probably read a little more during the darker months because there is less other stuff going on. Maybe too many people making editorial decisions think that we all still take vacations in the summer and need something to read while lounging at the beach or sipping cocktails at the pool. I don’t think that’s the case for most of us, but we can dream, right?

Richard over at The Broken Bullhorn (and a fairly frequent commenter around these parts) put up a post detailing the list of books he expects to read over the summer. I figured I’d do the same, since just last weekend I tried to get my arms around the growing pile of books I still need to read, and organized them into a loose queue to pull from. If all goes as planned, this is what I should be able to knock out over the summer, provided a summer actually comes to Missoula this year.

  • The Last Good Fight by Joe Layden (just started this, about 25% of the way through. It’s a NF book about the Mike Tyson/Buster Douglas fight on February 11th, 1990, as well as behind the scenes stuff about both of their careers and the events leading up to the historic fight. Pretty great so far.)
  • Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth (novel about a guy who is the president’s vampire bodyguard or something. I don’t know, not something I’d normally pick up, but it comes highly recommended by Beau Smith, whose opinion I trust, so I figured I’d give it a read)
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (story collection based on nonfiction events from the author’s experiences in Viet Nam, I believe. Came up in conversation w/ Patti Abbott, who suggested I give it a read for the Forgotten Book Fridays thing I occasionally participate in)
  • True Grit by Charles Portis (classic Western I’ve never read)
  • The Raven’s Gift by Jon Turk (mentioned this in a post earlier this week; a nonfiction account of the author’s experiences with an old shaman in Siberia)
  • A Bad Day for Sorry and A Bad Day for Pretty by Sophie Littlefield (the first two novels by Sophie, who has become one of my internet pals over the last few months. Sorry was/is up for all kinds of First Novel awards, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer person. Pretty just came out a week ago. Wanted to get right on these, but forced myself to put a couple in front of them)
  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann (nonfiction account of an Amazonian adventure expedition gone awry. I love stuff like this!)
  • The Song is You and Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (yes, for those who don’t know, she is the aforementioned Patti’s daughter. Julia loves her books, and I’ve loved the two I’ve already read. When people ask for book recommendations, I always mention Megan now!)
  • Body by Harry Crews (one from my Powell’s Books haul, and the one Christa Faust recommended to me as a great place to start with Harry Crews. A black comedy set in the world of female bodybuilding)
  • A Fighter’s Heart by Sam Sheridan (a nonfiction account from a guy who traveled the world learning different fighting techniques, as well as a look into the philosophies of why we fight. Or something like that)
  • American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell (collection of stories about down-and-out folks in rural Michigan. Julia read it, liked it, and said I’ll probably like it too)

This list should get me through. I have a few other books (not to mention graphic novels) stacked alongside that I might add here and there as well, plus I know a new Gabriel Hunt book is coming out soon which I will definitely grab and read as soon as I’m able to, but for the most part this should be a plan I can stick to.

Or not, we’ll see.

I’m curious to know what other people are reading, or will be reading!

11 thoughts on “What are You Reading This Summer?”

  1. >Bob, I didn't know your dad did three tours in 'Nam — wow.Rebecca, I haven't read it. Julia just finished it and really liked it. I'd say it's about three books farther down on the list I posted, if I don't move it up sooner.

  2. >American Salvage was outstanding. The WSU Press published it and my husband is on the board. It was so successful they had to turn it over to a commercial press. It anyone wants to learn how to write a short story, she's your gal. She can knock heads with the best of them

  3. >I bought twenty vintage Zane Grey Western magazines, Patricia Highsmith bio, Killer, Stephen King On Writing, Steampunk Tales: Issue 7, Sophie Littlefield's latest, several Hard Case Crime, and approximately fifteen BTAP submissions a week. I'm missing something but that's off the top.

  4. >Patti: Wow, that's cool to know. And that's also a perfect example of how my carefully planned queue gets all messed up. Now I'm feeling the urge to bump American Salvage up to the top because I feel like I want to read it NOW!David: I really enjoyed On Writing. It's in my deeper queue for re-reading. I also have several HCC books on the side to work in as I feel the need. I just read the most recent one, Nobody's Angel, and it was really good. Different, certainly, but I enjoyed the heck out of it.

  5. >My reading habits have been unfortunately infrequent this year. I believe that the only fiction book I've read this year was "Fashionista" by Erica Kennedy, and the only non-fiction book I've been able to do was "Write with Fire".I only got one fiction book at the ready and that's "Cold in The Light".Pretty sad for someone who used to read on the average about 30 books a year.

  6. >I think of summer as a slightly different reading time, because I tend to do more of it outdoors, by the local pool, in the backyard or while taking a trip of some kind. We don't usually take the traditional two week vacation in summer, I prefer to go places when school is in and there are less crowds, but we do travel sometimes and a book in hand is always needed.That's an interesting and impressive list. I've heard a lot of good things about AMERICAN SALVAGE.And thanks for the nod and link.

  7. >G, I went through some lean years reading-wise myself. I've been on quite a roll though over the last few.Richard, thanks. I read a lot more outside too this time of year. It's one of my favorite things to do, especially in the evening after a day of doing whatever — lawn mowing, hiking, etc. Even sleeping outside and reading by flashlight.

  8. >The Lost City of Z is so great. One of the best non-fiction books I've read. The Things They Carried is also great.I have a constantly morphing stack of books next to my bed this summer, as always. Right now it's Nixonland, The O. Henry Prize Stories 2005, The Pregnant Widow… Recently finished off Stoner and I have to recommend this book wholeheartedly… by John Edward Williams. Also good: Wonder Boys (better than the movie with Michael Douglas), This is Where I Leave You, The Lacuna (Barbara Kingsolver), Cloud Atlas (bizarre, excellent writing), Chronic City, The Lazarus Project.A book I think you'd really like, also, is State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. Writers from each of the 50 states write about what is the essence of their state (Sarah Vowell does MT). Each essay is so different in tone, scope, subject.

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