Features, Features

Summer Reading Lists 2006

For the month of July we decided to embrace the spirit of summer vacation and feature the reading lists of our staff and volunteers.

Amanda Bennett: “Heavy, heady stuff…” What Good Are The Arts? by John Carey Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff Monkey Luv by Robert M. Sapolsky Why Do I Love These People? by Po Bronson Gatsby’s Girl by Caroline Preston

William Bernhard: “This is what I have in my queue, which is often mercurial.” The Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes The Boy on the Step by Stanley Plumly The Wild Iris by Lousie Glück Without End by Adam Zagajewski The Plague by Albert Camus Her Husband by Diane Middlebrook

David Biespiel: “What’s stacked in the living room…” Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert District and Circle by Seamus Heaney The Curved Planks by Yves Bonnefoy Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt (“Actually this is in the car, and I admit, I’ve been reading it in traffic and in waiting rooms…”) Selected Lyrics by Cole Porter The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore The Tree by John Fowles First Hand by Linda Bierds

Jill Elliott: “I’m currently reading The Earth Path by Starhawk. This is my holds list from the library, so I’ll be reading them sometime this summer, I hope. Not much poetry, is there?” The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion Riding Westward by Carl Phillips The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman Vibrational Medicine for the 21st Century by Richard Gerber Girls of Tender Age – a memoir by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

David Robinson: “I’m currently finishing The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor. Somehow, even though I grew up in and around the South, I missed reading her work. Now, I cannot get her stories out of my mind. She is an amazing writer, among our best – her precision with words and her ability to craft story and character in startling and original imagery is regrettably rare. (This, of course, is old news to most readers, but my recent discovery of O’Connor’s work comes at a time when the short story has become increasingly important to me.) It’s been a long time since I’ve been so taken by a writer’s skill with language; she is a true artist: a master of the short story, a creator. Where others take pages to say little or nothing (or merely repeat a formula), O’Connor tears open the curtain on new and abandoned worlds in just a few spare lines. One has the feeling that not even O’Connor knew where she was headed when first beginning a story and this is exciting. One is left to imagine what she would have created in her later years, had she not died so young. Next on the list are Voices from Chernobyl: Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich and Sacagewea’s Nickname: Essays on the American West by Larry McMurtry. After that, Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks which details a botanist’s trip to to study ferns and other flora and fauna. A Land Gone Lonesome: In Search of Blood and Thunder along the Yukon River by Dan O’Neill. Last, in hopes of learning the key to true slacking, I plan to dive into Tom Lutz’s Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America. And, as always, I plan to daily consult beloved volumes of Joseph Brodsky, Czeslaw Milosz, Dickinson, Poe, Emerson, and the many others…”

Claire Sykes: “Recently, I’ve been drawn mainly to nonfiction, in particular the sciences (there’s a lot of poetry there): Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero by Robert Kaplan And it’s been a while since I’ve read a novel, but this one from Powells’ remaindered table looks really good to me–a 933-page excuse to finally get a hammock: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts I’m also reading most of most issues of: The New Yorker and The Sun, and occasionally (wish I had more time)The Atlantic and Harpers and whatever else grabs me from coffee-house racks and bookstore shelves. As for poetry, it’s Jaan Kaplinsky and Wislawa Szymborska, for now.”

Garth Weber: “And a bunch of poetry, although I have no idea what that may be.” Shadow of the Object by Christopher Bollas Down by the River by Charles Bowden The Idea of the Self by Jerrold Siegel Simón Bolívar: A Life by John Lynch Anna of All the Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova by Elaine Feinstein