Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Reading

This past weekend I did a major weed of my TBR shelves- I can't even tell you how many books I weeded out, but I donated three bags of books to my favorite charity shop, Boomerang's in Boston, and I have at least as much left over to sell. The end result of this sorting out is giving up on a host of old books (if it's from 2008, I never think about it and I haven't even entered it into my LibraryThing catalog, am I going to read it? No.), finding things on my shelves I haven't laid eyes on in literally months, and moving some of those buried treasures up to the front of the pile.

Foremost among the buried treasures is my NYRB Classics edition of J.G. Farrell's Troubles, which just this past week won the Lost Man Booker Prize award. I picked this up ages ago, at another local charity bookshop (Bryn Mawr Books of Cambridge) on impulse. It's about Ireland and it looked literary- sometimes that's all it takes to sell me. And now I certainly feel validated!

Then there are all these great books coming out this summer- Gary Shteyngart's new one, Super Sad True Love Story, China Miéville's Kraken, and more. Moved those to the front of the pile.

I was happy to be reminded that I own The Jewish Husband, Lia Levi's novel published by Europa Editions, which also looks really great. And I re-found Stephanie Cowell's Claude and Camille, which I picked up at ALA Midwinter and have heard great things about.

I'm not looking to add a ton of books to my stash right now, but I'd love to get a hold of The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer, which I heard about on the Books on the Nightstand podcast. A story about the Holocaust in Hungary, it sounds like it's right up my alley and I'll definitely be on the lookout for it in the bookstores of New York this week. BOTN host and friend Ann Kingman said it was the best book she's read so far this year, comparable to Cutting for Stone- that's like saying, "hey, Marie, you need to read this!"

With Memorial Day weekend coming up soon, I need to start thinking about my summer reading. Summer is a time when I like to pick up idiosyncratic reads- not necessarily the hot new things (although when favorite authors like Shteyngart and Miéville have new books out, they're irresistible) but those books lingering at the back of the shelf, the books published years ago that just strike a chord. And then when I'm lucky and I get the chance, I fill a tall glass with a cool drink, head out to the hammock in the back yard, and read.