Thursday, June 07, 2007

Summer Reading

I am a voracious reader. I can finish a 350 page book in about four hours, depending on how much attention I wish to devote. Also, while my apartment has a TV, it isn't connected to anything other than a DVD player. So I have the desire and the impetus to read a great deal, and the summer always seems a perfect time for that.

I don't even watch most of these shows, yet I read this every week. Somehow I got a free subscription that just started showing up at my house. Although they misspelled my name as "Anni." Oops.

I am always looking for new books to read. At this point I've pretty much exhausted the collections of my roommates, and my boyfriend. I read AV Club book reviews, and those in most other publications. I'm a member of I do try to find "good" books, but for the most part I'm easy. I'll read anything that is left sitting around long enough, from old copies of the New York Times Magazine to TV Guide to trashy romance novels. Although, for the record, I actually read trashy romance novels for enjoyment, they're better than a pint of ice cream. And significantly less fattening. And they teach me some really interesting vocab words.

At any rate, I'm trying to compile a list of summer reading books, and possibly people from whom to borrow them (I hate my branch library) .

Here is what I have so far:

The Human Stain by Phillip Roth: CJ left this at my house with the other stuff I'm supposed to store for him while he's away.

Nobody Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July: I love short stories, I do a lot of reading on the subway/other mass transit, and I hate books with long chapters, because there is no natural ending place. Also, her website is charming,

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman: This looks interesting, but I'm a bit wary because I didn't really like The Lovely Bones, and it appears to be in the same style. Also, I should probably stop reading about death while my boyfriend is away. I tend to have nightmares.

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: Ok, so this one is about death too, but I love history, and it is about that most magical of cities... Chicago! It freaked my brother out, but it has the added benefit of being owned by one of my roommates. Free+accessible trumps freaky+depressing.

This list will probably only last a week or two, so suggestions are welcomed, especially if they come with books. I will read those first, and return them in good condition, I promise! And you can borrow anything you want from my bizarre, esoteric, and heavily military-history book collection. It's great if you want to read some John Keegan.


Liberal Jew said...

My I suggest "What is the What" by Dave Egers. Good read and very interesting.

Annie said...

I didn't love his Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, so I'm a bit wary of him.

DaGirl said...

just finishing up "What is the What" now. It's definately not in the typical Eggers style, and since you seem to be "enjoying" We Wish to Inform You..., you may also want to read a first-person narrative/biography of the Sudanese refugees...

(for the record, though, Dave Eggers can do almost no wrong in my book)

harley said...

I own both Devil in the White City and Lovely Bones and they happen to be two of my favorite books. Lovely Bones was the best depiction of what a family goes through and feels after the sudden death of a loved one that I've ever read (and I went through a whole phase of reading only books about family members dying, so you can imagine it must be pretty damned good). It was so accurate, in fact, that I asked my therapist to read it. And now I've overshared. Awkward.

Annie said...

DaGirl- If you lend it to me, I'll give it a shot. And for the record, I am a big fan of McSweeney's, so I guess I do like some of his work.

Harley- For the record, I thought that Lovely Bones was a great portrayal of the family life, I just found the conceit of the all-knowing dead girl a little irritating. Also, it was just not the sort of story that I enjoy. But can I borrow Devil in the White City?

Aunt L. said...

I just finished "What the Dead Know" and thought it was a great fictional speculation on a true unsolved case that occurred in the DC area more than 30 years ago (see The title is a quotation from source I have now forgotten. There are no all-knowing dead people in it, only living people and their memories. On the other hand, I loathed "The Devil in the White City" because the many gruesome crimes are described in gruesome detail to the point of nausea (I don't read Patricia Cornwell, either, for the same reason.) and, besides, there's just a limit to how much I care about the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.

Sherbs said...

1) For the NYPL, you can request all the books you want, and depending on how popular they are, they come right to your branch library. Ready for free reading. It's the best service ever.

2) I just finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics recommended by the Pedant. It's a bit odd, but a good long read nonetheless.

3) Read Roth! He's amazing! My dad has a huge collection if you need more.

Annie said...

Aunt L- I'll take that into consideration. I do happen to like "true crime" or whatever you call its historical equivalent.

Sherbs- I have read a great deal of Phillip Roth. Not just Portnoy's Complaint, Goodbye, Columbus and The Human Stain (which I finished last night) but also the Anatomy Lesson. I might be missing one in there somewhere.

jhuth said...

If you liked the historical aspect of Devil in the White City, theres a really good documentary DVD titled EXPO - Magic of the White City that goes deeper into the history of 1893 Chicago. The narrator is actually Gene Wilder.
Here are are a couple links to YouTube trailers:

SaraK said...

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It is terrific. Most of Jodi Picoult's book are terrific. My faves: My Sister's Keeper, The Pact, Vanishing Acts.