Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer reading issue

I've never really planned my summer reading before, but then, my child has never finished a school year before, so it happens that we're all of us going to take off some time together, and much of that time will be spent simply hanging out, some of it in town, and some of it at the cottage, and "hanging out" means I should have a couple books on hand, particularly since "hanging out" to J-F means fishing, and we all know I'm happier with a book in my hand not catching any fish than having a fishing rod in my hand and not catching any fish, and I just bought a chair for my "garden" (where "garden" means stone courtyard with a couple pots, a couple baskets) that has armrests large enough to sit a drink on, and a footrest, all of which adds up to it being a perfect chair to while away the summer in, reading. I really am unreasonably excited about this chair, and the prospect of reading in it, but oh well, and notice how I've barely mentioned the kid; I guess I expect her to occupy herself.

The Angel's Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I've essentially finished reading this ARC already, and will write more about it in a couple days. I fully expected this to drift into my "summer" reading, but I couldn't put it down, and, well, now it's done. (I thought Shadow of the Wind was grossly overrated. This novel, on the other hand, I enjoyed immensely.)

2666, by Roberto Bolaño. I'm trying to pace myself. I loved part 1, but I couldn't stop there. This put me ahead of the schedule for the reading group I'd happened upon. But while I subsequently ate up parts 2 and 3, I want also to consider them thoughtfully. I started on part 4, but as fate would have it, I was in no mood to read about gruesome murder details that day in the métro. So I've set it aside until I find a clearer mental space and the time to be able to write about it as I go.

The Sun over Breda, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The further swashbuckling adventures of Captain Alatriste! I let out an involuntary exclamation of joy when I came across this at the bookstore last week. Obviously it was meant to be, meant for me, and meant for me now.

Brighton Rock, by Graham Greene. Being that everything I know about Brighton I learned form Patrick Hamilton, I thought I should broaden my education. Not that I'm particularly interested in learning more about Brighton. But I read an excerpt a while back, and was thoroughly wowed.

The Man in the Brown Suit, by Agatha Christie. Which remarkably I'd never read — I read dozens of Christie novels during my adolescence, but evidently not all — and I've been wanting to read ever since I saw that Doctor Who episode. Plus, I love the packaging.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. Everyone who's read it, raves about it, including a coworker for whom I'll be using this as a test book, to gauge whether her taste in books is reliably compatible with mine or not. I had a hard time figuring out what trilogy exactly she was so crazy for, as the title of the first book in French is Les hommes qui n'aimaient pas les femmes (nothing about a tattoo there).

(I ordered these last three — Greene, Christie, Larsson — from Amazon. It's tough economic times: Gone are the days when "ship when entire order is ready" meant they'd probably send you the bulk of your order straight away anyway. This makes me nervous, as the order is awaiting the release of the Larsson in paperback, and estimated package delivery is a day into my vacation time, and I kind of have to convince the family that we really ought to stick around town for a day or two before we trek off into the wilderness, to ensure that I have books with which to trek off.)

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. Because it's the Infinite Summer! Which sounds way more promising than that infinite winter when I didn't manage to finish it! And! I'll be covering the same geographic territory while I revisit the same literary territory! Like it's fated!

(Interesting reading related to DFW: About designing the inside of a DFW book.)

There's not a chance (is there?) that I'll get through this list before I have to show my face at work again; but I'm racing through pages lately, and set to cross titles off the list before even my vacation officially begins. I am prepared to steal back the copy of Spook Country (William Gibson) I picked up for J-F if I have to. And provided I'm on home ground when the pile runs out, there's the Nelson Algren I've been meaning to get to...

There's a good list of paperbacks in time for summer in this weekend's Montreal Gazette, a couple of which I vouch for (Petite Anglaise, by Catherine Sanderson, and The Painter of Battles, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, although this one isn't exactly light reading), and a couple more which greatly interest me.

I also like the list in The Telegraph. (You'll find 2666 and A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, which I can't recommend highly enough, therein.)

What are you reading this summer?
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