This summer, I will not be headed to the beach, but to the mountains of North Carolina, where I will spend a great deal of time sitting on a screened front porch in a rocking chair, looking out at the Pisgah National Forest. So my list should more properly be called, “Top Ten Porch-Sitting Reads.” Are the kind of books you’d read on a front porch different than those you’d read on the beach or beside the pool? I think probably the answer is yes. I know lots of folks look for light and fluffy in their summer reading, wherever they may be headed. I have no objection to a little fluff, but the most compelling criteria for me is that the book be engrossing. In the summer, whether I’m on the porch or by the pool, I want something that sucks me in and won’t let me stop reading any longer than it takes to procure another frosty beverage. So here’s a list of what I’ll probably be taking with me to the mountains.
1. Definitely Dead, by Charlaine Harris. This is where I left off in my reading of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I needed a break and now I’m ready to see what’s going on with Sookie now.
2. Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik. My husband has been raving, raving, raving about Adam Gopnik and has made some vague accusations to the effect that I never read any of the books he recommends. So I’ll be checking out this collection of essays on the authors life in Paris with his wife and son.
3. The Secret Pilgrim, by John Le Carre. I’ve never read any of Le Carre’s books, so I’m hoping this will be a definite page-turner.
4. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson. Definitely in the category of un-fluffy read. I know a little bit about the Great Migration, but after this book, I feel certain I’ll know a lot more.
5. The Great Night, by Chris Adrian. I picked this up at Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville this weekend. It’s a re-working of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I’m interested to see how that goes.
6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. I’ve been reading this very slowly on my i-Phone for several months now. It’s in the category of books I felt certain I had read only to discover I have not. This is not really light reading, but it is lovely to be fictionally on the river. I felt I had to read this book to prepare to read…
7. Finn, by Jon Clinch. This is the story of Huck’s father, and of Huck. It was one of Nathan’s picks at Village Lights Bookstore, who warned me repeatedly that it is quite dark.
8. Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson. I snagged this ARC from the back of the bookstore as I’d heard some good things about it on the blogosphere. So far, I’m having some mixed feelings, so this is a conditional recommendation. I’ll let you know when I finish it. Or I won’t, in which case you’ll know I probably didn’t like it enough to review.
9. Canada, by Richard Ford. I’ve never read any Richard Ford. Thought I’d give it a try.
10. Sharp: A Memoir, by David Fitzpatrick. Another ARC. I think this memoir about mental illness might fit into the slowing down to check out the gruesome car wreck category, but sometimes the fucked-up-ness of other people’s lives can be quite comforting.
That’s what on my vacation list for now, so hopefully I have some compelling reading ahead of me. Happy travels!