July 19, 2012

Summer Reading List

It is already mid-July and I am yet to post about summer reads! A perfect summer read is a tricky balance, nothing so raw that it haunts you for days. And nothing so frivolous that you feel slightly more stupid for having read it. Here is what's on my list this summer, a few tried and true authors from across the pond and a couple new ones.

Remember Gosford Park? Like Downton Abbey? Then give Julian Fellowes' novels a try. His novel Snobs is chock full of traditional snobbery but set in modern time. His second book, Past Imperfect, is patiently waiting on my nighttable for attention.

Julian Fellowes Past Imperfect

Alan Bennett is a master of taking a perfectly absurd situation and treating it as if it is quite normal. I enjoyed  The Clothes They Stood Up In (a middle aged affluent couple finds their stuffy home robbed down to the toilet paper roll) and loved Uncommon Reader (Her Royal Majesty takes up common hobby of reading). Best of all, his books are diminutive in size without giving up any depth. I am very much looking forward to stories in The Laying On of Hands.

Alan Bennett The Laying On of Hands

I will read just about anything Jasper Fforde writes because it is a mad jumble of genres sprinkled with wordplay which all, somehow, work. If summer is long enough I will be reading either his Shades of Gray (NOT to be confused with the smutty one, this is about strange future society where social standing is determined by ability to perceive colors)...

Jasper Fforde Shades of Gray

or Fforde's Dragonslayer series about modern day society where over-regulated magic falls on hard times.

Jasper Fforde The Last Dragonslayer

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was suggested and kindly loaned to me by a friend and I am nearly finished. The book is touching, it is about finding friends late in life when one who isn't foolish judges people for their essence. The author has succeeded in teaching this lesson as with every chapter one grows attached to characters often in spite of oneself.

Helen Simonson Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

I am not particularly proud of this one. But there is only so many times a girl can re-read P&P. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is not going to win prizes for the quality of writing but it feeds the fleeting fantasy of falling through the Regency rabbit hole. Enjoy this one by the pool with a spritzy drink.

Laurie Viera Rigler Confessions of a Jane Austen Fan

If you are headed to New England this summer, grab a copy of Olive Kitteridge on your way. The book of short stories set in a small Maine town are connected by a thread of Olive Kitteridge, at times abrasive but very human. Unlike frothy Jane Austen Addict, this is a more melancholy read suitable for the coast of Maine if not Miami Beach.

Elizabeth Strout Olive Kitteridge

What are you reading this summer?

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