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One of my friends recently told me that when July 4th passes, she feels like summer is basically over. I can completely relate, especially as my fall calendar is filling up quickly. Not mention that, as always, I’m getting to that point in the season when I’m struck by the growing suspicion that the optimistic summer to-do list that I make every May may not get totally done.
Ah well. But maybe there’s still time to do a little summer reading. I hope so since I know absolutely nothing about Pokemon Go (which suddenly appears to be all the range). Either that—and I’m sorry to say that my great affection for The Great British Baking Show no doubt confirms this—but this may be a very middle-aged response to tempus fugit. So be it.
So if your summer reading list still has a little room, here’s a few things I’ve been appreciating this summer:
Frederick Buechner’s 90th birthday was Monday, so I’ve been perusing the new Buechner 101 collection. If you’ve never read Buechner, this is a lovely way to dip into his work; and if you’re a long-time fan, it’s a nice compendium of work across all the genres in which he’s written.
And speaking of classics, you still have time to start Middlemarch. There’s always time for Middlemarch.
Two books have been on my to-read pile for an unconscionable amount of time: Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. I know I am far behind the rest of the world in reading these powerful and convicting works. But, in my opinion, they should be required for every American, particularly at such a time as this.
I’m firmly on the Hamilton bandwagon (it’s often the soundtrack to my daily walk, so if you see me walking along muttering, don’t worry–I’m really Eliza-ing it up). Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton as well as the accompanying book for the musical, Hamilton: The Revolution, are well-worth investigating.
And in the more literary realm, finally an even-handed Bronte biography. Claire Harman’s Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart takes the best of previous scholarship without taking on some of the crazier tendencies to which Bronte scholars can be prone. It’s a portrait of Charlotte and her family that actually brings new understanding. That’s saying something 150 years later.
I’ve finally caught up on Canadian writer Louise Penny and her Chief Inspector Gamache crime series. Penny sets the action mostly in the intriguing village of Three Pines, and she writes not just a compelling mystery, but imbues the characters with real humanity. The puzzles are as much about “who are we as human beings” as “who done it.” She has a new novel coming out at the end of August.
Even if you do not have children to justify the purchase, get the gorgeous fable The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith as soon as possible. Aesthetically and thematically it will enrich your life.