Thursday, June 22, 2017

The "Summer Reading" Tag

Yesterday was the first day of Summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and so I thought it was the perfect time to think about my Summer reading.  Last year, Booktuber Amy Jane Smith created the "Summer Reading" tag video, to encourage thinking about the books that you read during the summer.  As I work a year-round job, I don't have that much extra time to read than I do at any other time of the year.  However, with occasional holidays and long weekends, as well as the change in mood that comes from moving into warmer months, I definitely approach reading differently now than at any other time of the year.  With that, let's dive into the questions...

What three books do you want to read this summer?

These are high up on my TBR, so I hope to finish them before autumn sets in.

1. The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami - exploring the secret lives of items for sale at a thrift shop, as well as the people who work there
2. Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera - a fable about the place of art and integrity in a world fueled by greed and power
3. Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi - The story of four young Mauritanians struggling with the violence of everyday life

Which character most embodies the traits of summer?

For me, summer is evocative of freedom and possibility.  One character that embodies these traits is Benji in Sag Harbor, written by Colson Whitehead.

What books do you most associate with the physicality of summer?

Set on a New England island, Maggie Shipstead's Seating Arrangements is pure summer: A posh family's home, the private beach clubs, illicit longing, and a beached whale.  Also, and perhaps an obvious choice, is The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.  But, I feel that the books that absolutely embody the heat and restlessness of summertime are the four books in Elena Ferrante's "Neapolitan Quartet".  I read these books in quick succession last summer, and it was the best way and time I could have consumed them.  You can feel the humidity in the air, the heightened passion, and the frenzy that comes from high temperatures.

What kind of books do you like to read on holiday?  Any books that hold memories of certain places?

Many people choose "beach reads" for the summer holidays...books that are plot-heavy, concern themselves with romance and lighter topics.  I've read a few of these, and I have to admit that I'm not a fan.  Any time of year, including on holiday, I prefer my books to have character-driven plots with serious themes and unhappy endings.  The year that it came out, I read Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life during a vacation and loved it - that should tell you everything you need to know.

If you could go on holiday with any author, who would you go with and where?  What would you want to know?

DAVID SEDARIS!!!!!  I'd fly to England and we'd pick up trash along the roadsides and he'd show me around the villages.  Afterward, we'd have coffee and chat about the hilarious mundanety of life.

What's your book of the year so far?

I've read a lot of great books this year, so I couldn't possibly narrow it down to just one.  I'll give you my Favorite Five (thus far) in no particular order:
1. White Teeth by Zadie Smith - review here
2. Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez - a short story collection exploring  socioeconomic issues, sexism, corruption, relationships, religion and the supernatural in Buenos Aires
3. The Closed Door and Other Stories by Dorothy Whipple - brief review here
4. A Fragile Freedom by Erica Armstrong Dunbar - review here
5. Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper - review here

How did you spend your summer holidays as a child?

When I was younger, my family would take the occasional long weekend trips to Washington DC, Niagara Falls, and nearby historical sites.  We didn't have a lot of money to spare on vacations, so it was rare that we went anywhere far away.  Otherwise, I spent most summers at my grandmother's house, reading and playing video games.  She and I would take weekly trips to the library, and I was signed up for summer reading programs.  Reading has been a big part of my life as long as I can remember.

What are your plans this summer?

Next week, I'll be heading down to Washington DC for a long weekend with friends - a trip that will start off on a bookish event. Yuri Herrera is stopping at Politics & Prose bookstore as part of his Kingdom Cons book tour!  Other than that, it's shaping up to be a fairly uneventful and low-key summer.

What do you have going on this summer?  If you're interested in doing the Summer Reading Tag, consider yourself tagged!

Librorum annis,