In college I read a book per week in order to keep up with my classes. Now, not so much. Never big on New Year's Resolutions (cannot commit to something like weekly Pilates, you see,) I've made it my summer resolution to read more books! Here's what's on my list!
1. The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri I just finished this little gem. This Indian American author is one of my favorites. Her style is very sparse but she manages to imbue each line of writing with such complex emotion. This story of a pair of brothers--one a revolutionary and one an academic--and the consequences of their attachment to one another is truly magnificent. Don't expect this one to be all puppies and butterflies. You may shed more than one tear.
2. Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Joan Didion Didion is a mainstay in Creative Writing education so I read much of her work in college and consequently became an enormous fan. But I've never read this book of essays cover to cover. I'm excited to get a full view of California in the 60's by way of Didion's expert telling.
3. The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir This 1949 classic is oft regarded as the starting point for the feminist movement. Beauvoir explores the subjugation of women in Western culture from a historical and philosophical point of view. She definitely ruffled feathers with this one and I can't wait to see why--and discover exactly how far we've come.
4. Among the Ten Thousand Things - Julia Pierpont This book has been named one of the best of the year and lauded by countless respected authors. It's a family drama told in four parts. But my main source of interest in this one is that it's a debut novel from a young writer--I always like to see what people my age are dreaming up.
5. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison When I came to the realization a few weeks ago that I've never read this American classic, I felt no small amount of shame. Morrison is regarded as one of our country's most captivating and singular storytellers, and my grandmother (a retired librarian) said this is quite possibly her favorite book of all time. Must. Read.
6. The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd I read Kidd's Secret Life of Bees YEARS ago but remember liking it. I've been recommended her latest work about a pair of real-life abolitionist sisters and a fictional woman who works as a slave in the sisters' childhood home. It's a story of liberation, empowerment, and deep struggle as these women seek to overcome the brutal oppression of the American South in the early 19th century.
7. Being Mortal - Atul Gawande This one has sat on my shelf for a while. I know it's going to be sad so I'm putting it off! Author Gawande, a surgeon, explores the limitations of Western medicine in addressing the issue of death and giving patients a dignified end of life.
8. Owning Your Own Shadow - Robert A. Johnson This one crept onto my list last minute after I saw that Tilda Swinton has it on her summer reading list. I find the Swinton an alluring and mysterious bird and need to know what she's reading. This 2009 psychology book explores the dark side of the human psyche and how coming to terms and learning about your own darkness can lead to a fuller life.
What are you guys reading this summer? Add to my list!