Summer Reads: 2012

Creative Loafing posted a Summer Reading List for 2012: from CL, “New books from Richard Ford, Padgett Powell, Jess Walter, and others round out these beach read picks.”

Also included  is Josh Russell’s A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, & Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag, which we’ll have to wait for until August. But I get the sense that this might make a damn good Fall semester / fall rush week book. From CL:

Comically blending the sexualized campus novel with the captivity narrative, Russell creates a proudly, playfully Nabokovian work that’s outright literary fun. Guttentag’s journey through the landscape of liberal academia comes with a serving of farce and cynicism. Unlike his previous two novels, Yellow Jack and My Bright Midnight, this fresh novel shows Atlanta’s Russell continuing to invent new territory. Dzanc Books. $15.95. 170 pp. Available Aug. 14.

In the summer, I’m often looking to figure out what I’ve missed from the previous year. The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2011 evenly divides picks by fiction and non-fiction. From this list, I’d choose Karen Russell’s Swamplandia and Christopher Hitchens’ Arguably: both of the lengthy NYT reviews of these books caught my eye last year, so I’m not surprised to see these on the list. Not to mention Swamplandia was in the middle of that Pulitzer thing. From the NYT:

An alligator theme park, a ghost lover, a Styx-like journey through an Everglades mangrove jungle: Russell’s first novel, about a girl’s bold effort to preserve her grieving family’s way of life, is suffused with humor and gothic whimsy. But the real wonders here are the author’s exuberantly inventive language and her vivid portrait of a heroine who is wise beyond her years.

Our intellectual omnivore’s latest collection could be his last (he’s dying of esophageal cancer). The book is almost 800 pages, contains more than 100 essays and addresses a ridiculously wide range of topics, including Afghanistan, Harry Potter, Thomas Jefferson, waterboarding, Henry VIII, Saul Bellow and the Ten Commandments, which Hitchens helpfully revises.

In addition to the three books above, my to-read list also includes Ann Beattie’s Mrs. Nixon, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Joshilyn Jackson’s Backseat Saints. What’s on your summer reading list? Do you make such a list? If not, what’s wrong with you? Lists are fantastic. Can you point us to other summer-reads lists online that merit a look?

Amber

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One thought on “Summer Reads: 2012”

  1. I don’t make lists beyond one or two books anymore. Longer than that and I get depressed. Right now I’m reading Charles Baxter for the first time and am sorry I waited so long.

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