The Joys of Summer Reading
One of the pleasures of summertime for me has been the chance to read fiction. It may be a stretch to call these social studies but all of them are either political or sociological in orientation.
- Daniel Silva’s “The Other Woman”: I’m a big fan of Silva’s stories about the Israeli spy Gabriel Allon. I’ve probably read 7 or 8 or these books. Despite their length (typically 400 pages or so), the excitement of the story makes the reading go quickly.
- Anne Tyler’s “Clock Dance”: Tyler is a very good writer, some of whose other works I’ve also read. This one wasn’t my favorite, but the stories she tells always include intriguing characterizations and settings—often including Baltimore, her home town. This one is a story of one woman’s journey into her senior years from her early years. I found the ending abrupt and disappointing, but it was fun along the way.
- Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s “The President is Missing”: Improbable story, poorly written, but as with Silva, I thought there might be some insights into Washington, DC politics from these two famous co-authors. Reading the review by Anthony Lane in The New Yorker after the fact provided lots of laughs. You might want to check out the review before paying the money for the book, or wait for access to it at your local library--
- Andrew Sean Greer’s “Less”: This book won a Pulitzer Prize. Several of my friends who have also read it and I have wondered why. It’s the story of one man’s odyssey through adulthood, relationships, and his career as a writer. Maybe I’m just a Philistine without enough of a critical framework for contemporary fiction—quite possible.
- Allison Pearson’s “How Hard Can It Be?”: So now you know what a Philistine I am! If you didn’t read “I Don’t Know How She Does It” (Pearson’s first book, who happens to be married to the New Yorker critic Anthony Lane mentioned above), you may not have been waiting over a decade (like I did) for the sequel. Although this one wasn’t nearly as funny as the first book, it’s an amusing set of reflections about mid-life womanhood, careers, children, relationships, and all the rest. Perfect summer reading!
I’d love to hear from readers of this blog what great books, fiction or otherwise, they read this summer.