The Summer Reading List is a staple of summer vacations. Like beaches, fireworks, and barbecues, books are a necessity for good summers. I’m sure countless psychologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and social scientists have devoted hour after hour to calculating the best equation for a summer reading list. It should be filled with books one has meant to read but hasn’t had time to yet. It should be diverse in genre, not just balancing poetry, novels, and plays, but adventure, drama, comedy, romance, or any combination of the reader’s personal preferences. Often they have new releases paired with classics. My summer reading list is hefty; it has books I’ve been meaning to get around to for over five years, as well as books I just discovered months ago. Some come recommended by friends, others I picked up off the shelf on a whim. However, it is most important for a summer reading list to be leisurely and enjoyable. I’ve certainly enjoyed my list so far, and have no intention of slowing my reading until I have to get back to work in the Fall.
My list is as follows:
The Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail (Iraqi poetry)
A Dog About Town by J. F. Englert (murder mystery narrated by a dog)
The Long and Short of It by Pamela Painter (short stories)
The Theory and Practice of Rivers by Jim Harrison (poetry)
With a Strange Scent of World by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez (Cuban poetry)
The Propheteers by Max Apple (historical fiction novel)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (novel)
The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry
Literature from the ‘Axis of Evil’ by various authors (anthology of works from Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Libya, Sudan, and Syria)
The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry
Fall 2014 edition of Cardinal Sins (literary journal)
Book of Grass by J. V. Brummels (Midwestern poetry)
They Came to Jerome by Herbert Young (Arizona History)
Salt by Earl Lovelace (Trinidadian novel)
Our Father Who Wasn’t There by David Carlin (Australian memoir)
Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka (Nigerian play)
Volume 35, No. 1 of Mid-American Review (literary journal)
Healing Earthquakes by Jimmy Santiago Baca (poetry)
Aimless Love by Billy Collins (poetry)
Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee (South African novel)
The Blizzard Voices by Ted Kooser (Midwestern poetry)
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque (WWI novel)
The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck (novel)
The Business of Fancydancing by Sherman Alexie (poetry and short stories)
Emails from Scheherazad by Mohja Khaf (Syrian-American poetry)
What books are on your summer reading list? Any favorites? Leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been reading.
I’m currently slogging through East of Eden. It’s been on my bookshelf for the better part of a decade and I’m just now getting to it.
That’s one Steinbeck novel I’ve been putting off.
It’s quite good, but it can be a very slow read. Steinbeck takes about 200 pages to really get going.
The Long and Short of It by Pamela Painter
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
A Dog About Town by J. F. Englert
Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan
Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
The Profiteers by Max Apple
In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
Various literary journals
We have a lot in common, stranger.
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What a lovely reading list, completely anonymous stranger.