What People Are Reading This Summer

It’s almost summer and graduating students get a little time to finally read what they want, professors have an opportunity to read things they do not have to grade, and even professional writers get some summer reading in the extra daylight.

It’s been an exciting year for books in southern Oregon—James Anderson’s The Never-Open Desert Diner and Midge Raymond’s My Last Continent came out in paperback, Macmillan released Victor Lodato’s Edgar & Lucy and Sandra Scofield gave us Swim: Stories of the Sixties.

For those of you who have been falling behind on your reading, those are all great choices for the summer.

Also on my list are Kory Stamper’s Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, John McWhorter’s Talking Back Talking Black, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Brian Doyle’s Chicago, and Andre Dubus III’s House of Sand and Fog.

What are others looking forward to?

Tod Davies says she is “Rereading everything I can get my hands on by Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. LeGuin.” She also plans on catching up with on Neil Gaiman’s books and is going to reread Lewis Mumford’s Technics and Civilization.

Diana Maltz too is planning to read everything she can by Margaret Atwood to choose novels for the single-author class in the fall. “It might,” she says, “be a grim summer.”

Allegra Lance, soon to be in grad school at PSU says she is hunting down a copy of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet right now, and rereading the Tiffany Aching series, A Night in the Lonesome October, and a few other books. She also just bought Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and a bunch of Sarah Waters books.

Bill Gholson is going to read lots of poetry this summer, and, he adds, “I am also planning to read The Book of Joan by Lidia Yukanavitch, because “I like a good dystopian novel to take the edge off of summer happiness.” Also on Bill’s list: two novels by Don DeLillo–Falling Man and The Body Artist.

Allie Sipe is heading off to Teach for America in Rhode Island. She says: “I keep trying to read 1984, but it gets too realistically discouraging. So I switch to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for comic relief, but I can’t seem to finish that, either. I’m also reading a short story collection full of iconic authors to try and narrow down the list of authors I probably should have read as an English major but somehow never did.”

Alma Rosa Alvarez says she is planning on reading some books connected to her teaching, like Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad and Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees but is also planning to finish Amy Stewart’s The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms.

Dante Fumagalli writes that “It feels pretentious to say almost, but I’ve been trying to read Infinite Jest on and off for a few years now, so I’m hoping to use this summer to finish that!” [Good luck!] Also on his list more by Colson Whitehead.

Nicole Eichsteadt is going to dig into The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. And she is working on a novel of her own.

Laura Payne
is planning to read Teach: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta by Michael Copperman and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. She adds: “I figure Copperman’s book will be good for me since I’m about to travel to do a couple of years of teaching away from home and I’m interested in See’s book because it has to do with tea making and I’ve been working at a specialty tea shop for about a year now. On top of that, I really want to finish Stephen King’s, It, because the movie is coming out soon and I want to geek out about it with my dad.”

Margaret Perrow is tackling Straight Man by Robert Russo, Thin Blue by Johnny Steinberg, about the unofficial ‘rules’ of policing in post-Apartheid South African townships, The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi, “because she writes about the importance of literary fiction to freedom and democracy,” The Wisdom of Tich Nhat Hanh by Tich Nhat Hanh, “to slow me down and put things into perspective,” Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris, because he’s funny and smart at the same time, and he knows how to ‘write short.’ And she’ll be dipping into How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark.

What are you reading?

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels was released by Oxford University Press in March of 2020.
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