I loved this post on Paper Cuts about making a list of “Summer Reading Goals,” a roll-call of books to be read over the summer, just like back in elementary school (or the summer before AP English). I thought I’d post mine here so that everyone could check back in and mock me if I didn’t finish all of them. Shame is a powerful motivating factor for me.
Here are the books I will read this summer:
The Known World, by Edward P. Jones. I know, I should’ve read this by now. You know why I haven’t? It’s a dumb reason, but I’ll tell you. My wife got a hardcover copy of this back when it came out, and I really prefer to read paperbacks. Who wants to lug around a hardcover all the time? And I just can’t bring myself to buy a second copy of the book, which means that eventually, I’ll have to sit down with the hardcover. It’s going to happen this summer.
Murder in Amsterdam, by Ian Buruma. I somehow missed this book entirely when it came out a few years back, but I recently read an essay of Buruma’s about Mel Gibson’s anti-semitic tirade, and it piqued my interest. This examination of Holland’s reaction to the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh seems like the better bet than Martin Amis’ largely panned The Second Plane (although part of me wants to hear Amis tear into someone, anyone. That’s always fun).
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, by Aimee Bender. I’m remedying one of my short story blind spots. Everybody tells me these stories are weird, fun, heartbreaking…all the good short story adjectives. Bender sounds like good summer reading to me.
Please Excuse My Daughter, by Julie Klam. We all know how much I like Julie Klam’s blog. Yesterday, I was killing time down on the sales floor, and I picked this up and read the first two pages and laughed twice. I don’t read many memoirs, but I think I’ll make an exception for this one.
Decline and Fall, by Evelyn Waugh. My token “dead British guy” for the summer.
Could I finish all these this summer? I think so. Will I? I hope so. What are your reading goals for the summer? Post them in the comments. We’ll motivate each other to push on!