I checked in at the Musing Mondays blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:
Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s). What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! Also tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
On social media people share their first swim of the season and barbeque grill fired up for the first time. Summer is here. The bookstores are rolling out their summer reading titles. These summer books, to my amusement, are quite diverse in their target audience and intensity of the subject matter. My reading for once is not influenced by change of season, weather, or travel plan. That said, I tend to pick lighter books that don’t require much brain juice to comprehend so I can bring with me to the pool. Summer reading always has an academic connotation: students are loaded with a pile of books to be completed over summer holiday. I think students should be given wide latitude in deciding what they want to read, instead of the Moby Dick-model. At Barnes & Noble and some local bookstores, I was a little taken aback by some of the titles: Columbine? Lolita? My school made me read Lolita in 10th grade but I don’t think some parts of this country would even allow that book to be shelved in public libraries! Interesting is that many of these summer reading books were once banned books: Leaves of Grass, Madame Bovary, Jungle, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Bell Jar. I read most of these in school, except Bell Jar, which was required reading for a literature course in Freshman year of college. Bell Jar is too depressing as a summer book.
As much as I don’t make a list for summer, I have inclined toward including travel books—memoirs and narratives. Dreaming in French captures the Paris years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis. People Who Eats Darkness is a true crime story of 21-year-old Lucie Blackman who went missing in Tokyo. The city had simply swallowed her up. The Geography of Bliss is a grump’s journey to look for the “unheralded happy places.” These are great books to sizzle in imagination and far places. They are easy readings that you can pick up without having to back-track between pool times and cocktail hours.