Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer reads

The library brings something out in me. I'm like a kid in a candy store and I just can't help myself. So many stories. So many adventures and possibilities. So little time (sigh). 

I'm gearing up for the summer and can't wait to jump into these books. Am I being a bit too ambitious with eight different titles? If I've got roughly 12 weeks of summer, that gives me about a week and a half to finish each book. Doable? I say all things are possible if you've got the will.

A quick rundown of my Summer 8:

Love in the Time of Cholera 
By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read any of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books. But his death this year prompted me to finally step into his magical world. I look forward to meeting Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza and wonder what Marquez will reach me about their ill-fated love. 

"To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell." 
By Osamu Tezuka

The godfather of Japanese comics, Osamu Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. I wouldn't consider myself a manga fan but I got sucked into this one after the first few pages. Tezuka brings ancient India to life through this graphic novel about the Buddha. I can't think of a better way to learn about Buddha's life and legacy.

There Will Come a Time
By Carrie Arcos

I'm most looking forward to finishing this one because the author is a good friend of mine. I remember when Carrie was dreaming about writing her first novel when we were on assignment together in Africa seven years ago. She followed through and her first work, Out of Reach, became a National Book Award finalist. There Will Come a Time is her second title and follows the story of Mark Santos, a high school senior who navigates his way through grief following the death of his twin sister, Grace.

The Best American Short Stories, 2008
Edited by Salman Rushdie

If I want smaller morsels of literary works the Best American series is my go-to. This summer, you'll find me on the beach reading this one. 

By Cheryl Strayed

Technically this book isn't a summer read as I finished it a few weeks ago. But I included it on my list because perhaps you'll want to include it on yours. Reeling from the death of her mother, Strayed decides to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail solo. It's a compelling memoir told in her fantastic, irreverent, honest voice. A good read.

Still Life With Bread Crumbs
By Anna Quindlen

A friend recommended this one. The book's jacket cover tells me, "[An] often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined." I love Quindlen's work and the premise of the story sounds like good summer reading to me.

I Am Malala
By Malala Yousafzai

Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai is changing the world. Activist, writer, speaker and survivor of a Taliban's near-fatal gun attack while riding the bus home from school, Malala is like a phoenix rising from the ashes. "I come from a country that was created at midnight," she writes in her memoir. "When I almost died it was just after midnight." I look forward to reading words from the warrior herself.

The Goldfinch
By Donna Tartt

Seems like every powerful, influential woman is reading or wants to read Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. At 771 pages, this one is my most ambitious summer read. I know almost nothing about it (other than it is Tartt's first new book in 11 years and won her a Pulitzer Prize). Palo Alto Online says, "Sometimes you should believe the hype." Well in that case, I'm intrigued.  

What about you? What are you reading this summer?