Summer Reading

Buck and I are about to head out to explore Brevard (in Transylvania County, no less!) and Hendersonville, but I wanted to mention two terrific recent reads and one that had me up early making a start:

The first is Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. I read this with sleepless eyes burning. Finally, at the last, when I threw the Kindle down on the bed here in Maggie Valley at 2:30 a.m., I told Buck (yes, he was reading some other book) “finishing my novel, this is my Pacific Coast Trail.” He didn’t know what I was talking about, but could tell I was passionate about it. Every time I think, “This is too hard. I can’t do it,” I’ll see Cheryl on the trail, especially her feet.

Next is Rosellen Brown’s novel, Before and After. A friend called me to ask me to read this book. I had never heard of Rosellen Brown. Whew. That’s all I have time to say right now. Couldn’t put it down.

I had pre-ordered  the new book by historian/biographer/journalist David Maraniss, Barack Obama The Story. It arrived on my Kindle sometime after midnight. I started reading about 6:00 a.m.  Hate to put it down, but there’s exploring to be done.

What are you reading these days?

Nathan Rich’s New Series on 20th Century Novels by American Authors at The Daily Beast

I check out The Daily Beast mostly for political and national news commentary, but until recently I hadn’t paid any attention to the fact that they write about books. There’s a clickable tab at the top of their main page, or you can just click here to take a look. They’ve recently  announced that author Nathan Rich (The Mayor’s Tongue) is writing a monthly series there called American Dreams: The 20th Century in Novels.

This monthly series will chronicle the history of the American century as seen through the eyes of its novelists. The goal is to create a literary anatomy of the last century—or, to be precise, from 1900 to 2012. In each column I’ll write about a single novel and the year it was published. The novel may not be the best-selling book of the year, the most praised, or the most highly awarded—though awards do have a way of fixing an age’s conventional wisdom in aspic. The idea is to choose a novel that, looking back from a safe distance, seems most accurately, and eloquently, to speak for the time in which it was written. Other than that there are few rules. I won’t pick any stinkers. — Nathan Rich

Sounds like fun. I’ll be reading.

By the way, the first book Rich will be writing about is Brewster’s Millions, written in 1903 by George Barr McCutchen. I just added it to my reading queue.