Commencement on my campus was on Saturday morning. Colleagues at other institutions in my town of Spartanburg, SC celebrated last week or today. Now that the exams are marked and the grades are in, or will be in soon, perhaps you will find a bit of time for pleasure reading. I’ve made it a priority to read for fun at least a little bit every day since some time in graduate school. Many of our fellow ProfHackers weighed in on their pleasure reading habits a while back. We’ve also featured posts on “Crowd-sourcing Your Summer Reading List(s)” and put together our own Summer Reading guides (2012) and (2013).
I’ve put together my own list of books I hope to read this summer (these are not part of class prep or for research).
- The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair This novel has been topping European sales charts for several weeks now and has already won several awards in France. It’s finally been translated into English, and I can’t wait to get started. It’s a whodunit mystery about the cold case of a missing girl. It’s received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, glowing praise from the Kirkus Review, and it is already at the top of several Editor’s Recommendation lists, and it’s not available Stateside until May 27!
- I loved Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, and I’m very excited to get my hands on The Snow Queen: A Novel. The Snow Queen follows two brothers, both of whom live in New York City, but who take increasingly divergent paths: one turning to religion and the other to drugs.
- Siri Hustvedt captured my attention in 2008 when I came across her novel What I Loved. I loved that novel so much that I read it twice and proceeded to recommend it to everyone I know. The Blazing World is Hustvedt’s newest novel, and it centers on a female artist named Harriet Burden who was convinced that the art world was ignoring her because of her gender, so she staged her final work as a series of three different installations, her identity hidden behind male personae. The novel is structured as a collection of documents: Burden’s journals, interviews with other artists, critical reviews, and more.
- Stephen King, one of my favorite living writers, has a new novel coming out in June, Mr. Mercedes. Before I get to it, I still need to read Doctor Sleep.
- Emma Donoghue’s ROOM haunted me for months after I finished it. Her new novel Frog Music combines historical thriller set in 1870s San Francisco and has been accumulating starred reviews (Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal) like they are going out of style.
Other books that I have recently enjoyed include:
- Inspired by the myth of Orpheus, Orfeo, the latest novel by National Book award winning author Richard Poweers, tells the story of composer Peter Els, who has taken to performing genetic research in his retirement. Els’s experiments have attracted the attention of Homeland Security, so Els becomes a fugitive.
- I found it hard to believe that A Constellation of Vital Phenomena was Anthony Marra’s first novel. This book takes place over a period of five days, but those five days also contain history and past events which haunt the Chechnyan orphan, neighbor whofids her hiding in the forest outside their village, and the doctor who takes her in. I didn’t know much about the violence in Chechnya before reading this book, but Marra manages to not only weave a haunting tale but also include a great deal of historical information without being didactic.
- John Irving’s novel Last Night in Twisted River (2009) shares familiar generational themes with other Irving novels as it focuses on fathers and sons. If you liked Until I Find You, In One Person, or Owen Meany, you’ll like Twisted River.
- Identical, a new novel by Scott Turow, explores the bond between identical twins as investigators reinvestigate the murder of a young woman who was dating one of the brothers at the time of her death.
Do you have a summer reading list? Or are there books that you have recently read that you would recommend to our readers? Please share them in the comments section.