On Friday Chris of Wildmoo Books passed through DC and we had a chance to hang out and spend some time at Politics and Prose. It was a lot of fun to catch up with Chris since our last meeting in New Haven in October. And what’s more fun than a trip to the bookstore? Probably a trip to the bookstore with a bookish friend.
In this case it was like going to the grocery store while hungry. Something you just don’t do. With all the talk about summer reading lately and people gearing up for Booker long lists and such and so forth, I had a hard time saying no and even found myself forcing a few books onto Chris.
Recently on The Readers we each chose five books to put on a summer reading list at the request of one of our listeners. One can’t swing a cat without hitting a summer reading list these days, but what makes our list different is that we didn’t try to identify the “it” books of the summer of 2016. Rather we tried to make a diverse list of old and new books that we think would be worthwhile pursuing should one be inclined to do so. With the help of our listeners, we also chose a summer read along book that will be discussed sometime after Labor Day. If you haven’t yet read The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen you have until the first Monday in September to read it and submit your questions and/or comments to be a part of the discussion. For more on the read along, you can check out the website for The Readers. You can also find the summer reading list there.
As for the 14 books I bought on Friday, here is a rundown as to why I couldn’t keep them out of my basket.
- Villalobos: Has an expletive-laden opening line similar to the one in Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma. I’ve started reading it and am enjoying it.
- Swift: Frances at Nonsuch Book recently posted a picture of five books she thinks might be on the Booker long list. Frances might be the one person who can egg me on to buy books without even being with me. I bought all but one of her five (The Essex Serpent is not out yet in the U.S.)
- Tey: People are always telling me to try Tey and this nice edition was half price in the remainder section.
- Barnes: I really, really liked The Sense of an Ending and this was also on Frances’ long list stack.
- Gattis: One of the books Simon put on his summer reading list. I’ve started reading this one already and like it but think I need to read it in sections almost like a serial feature or television program.
- Paterson: What self respecting gay could pass up a novel called Rancid Pansies?
- Conley: Also on Simon’s summer reading list. About a young man who enters a pray-the-gay-away “treatment” program. I ended up finding it quite tedious for a number of reasons and tossed it on the DNF pile after about 80 pages.
- Nguyen: Duh.
- Lee: Picked this one up just cuz and really liked it. Finished it yesterday.
- Gyasi: I’ve seen this one around the blogosphere but more than anything I liked the cover. Plus, I have been interested in reading literature by Africans about Africa.
- Mahajan: One that I considered throwing in the ring for the summer read along, but it isn’t out in the UK yet. Probably a title I won’t read on an airplane.
- DeLillo: Another Frances Booker long list prediction. I gave up on DeLillo about 25 years ago, but decided to give him another shot because Frances has that effect on me.
- Chee: Also Frances peer pressure. I read one of his books years ago and only found it okay. I’ve been hearing mixed things about it.
- Ford: The combination of the jacket blurb and the half priceness of it made me add this one to the pile.