Saturday, June 7, 2014
June 7-8, 2014: Crowd-sourced Beach Reads
[For the last couple years I’ve featured a summertime series on some AmericanStudies books you can pack along with the sunscreen and cold beverages. As summer approaches, it felt right to share some more beach reads, and this crowd-sourced post is drawn from the suggestions of fellow AmericanStudiers. Share your own favorites or summer reading plans in comments, please!]
Matthew Linton shares a couple recent works in U.S. intellectual history: Edmund Fawcett’s Liberalism: The Life of an Idea and Jamie Cohen-Cole’s The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature.
Osvaldo Oyola writes, “Hoping to read some Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany, and plug the unforgivable gap of Af-Am sci-fi writers in my reading.” (Heather Urbanski suggests “adding N.K. Jemisin to the list.”)
Paige Swarbrick writes, “I’ve got plenty of Stephen King I plan on reading, including Pet Sematary, Joyland, and On Writing.”
Ilene Railton highlights “Black Water Rising by Attica Locke—found it at City Lights Bookstore a few weeks back.”
Heather Urbanski will be reading “If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood—magical realism with Shakespeare and a trans* teen protagonist,” “plus stories nominated for The Hugo Awards this year.”
Andre Carrington highlights “Capital in the 21st Century, Mat Johnson’s Pym, and Samuel Delany’s latest gigantic novel.”
Serena-Rose Ciccarello writes, “Sarah Dessen is my guilty pleasure & favorite for a beach read. Starting This Lullaby soon.”
Jeff Renye notes that, “If I were going to the beach, I would bring Joyce Carol Oates’ The Accursed.”
Anna Consalvo has “just finished Adichie’s Americanah. Beautiful and poignant commentary on race in the good ol’ USA and much more. All told through the details of Ifemelu’s day to day life and love.”
Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello shares “Passing Strange by Martha Sandweiss—just got my 12 year old hooked on it!”
Jana Tigchelaar writes, “I beach-read (and loved) Louise Erdrich’s Master Butchers Singing Club and Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I also think Edith Wharton’s Summer would be an excellent beach read.”
In response to a Twitter question about poetry beach reads, Vicki Ziegler writes, “I would happily re-read Sue Goyette’s Ocean on a beach. Perfect poetry beach read!”
AnneMarie Donahue shares, “Gillian Flynn's trilogy: Gone Girl (read it soon before it becomes a film directed by David Fincher and starring Batfleck!... in truth, that film is going to rock!); Sharp Objects; Dark Places! All are awesome and read very quickly. Also you will be the official badass at the pool or beach. Yeah, they are murder mysteries, but they are awesome, each has a nice and highly unpredictable twist at the end and characters that say 'go ahead, sum me up to your friends, I double dare you!' Then for the inner-geek who wants to get old school and show off to those GoT HBO fans... Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Both are completely nookable books, but you know these are covers you wanna show off. A good book is better than a string bikini, let's be honest.” AnneMarie also highlights Bernard Cornwell’s The Pagan Lord and David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster.
Finally, Irene Martyniuk adds, “I keep thinking about my closing plea to my European Literature II students a few weeks ao—now that you have finished this class, when you see a book by an author whose last name you cannot pronounce, read it! Or, and this is good advice for all of my classes, make it a goal to read one more book by one of the athors that we have read this semester. Or, at the beach, turn back to a book you were assigned to read in high school or college (or even junior high/middle school). Now read it for pleasure. Lord of the Flies is really good. Heart of Darkness is incredible. Even The Scarlet Letter deserves more than a trip through Spark Notes. Finally, there are wonderful creative non-fiction books out there, which is more in line with what you wrote today, although your point about academic books being more accessible is far more clever than what I'm typing. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen (huge best seller) is worth the read, A Civil Action is still terrific. Stuff like that. Frankly, just read this summer.”
I couldn’t agree more! Next series starts Monday,
BenPS. So I’ll ask again: what would you recommend for a good beach read? What are you hoping to get to by the pool this summer?