Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Reading

With summer nearing an end, I thought I would mention my recent reading. Summer is just about the only time I can read fiction. Occasionally, I assign a novel. And maybe I slowly move through 1 or 2 a semester. But not much. In fact, I would say that the only negative I can think of to being a professor is the lack of time to read what I want.

I've started to pick an American author to catch up on each summer. Last year, it was Raymond Chandler. This year, I went with Mark Twain. But I haven't done much with him. Maybe I'll sneak another one before school starts.

Anyway, here's my summer reading list thus far:

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain, Puddinhead Wilson
Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays
David Malouf, The Great World
Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

All have been good. I've read the Twain and Didion before; all three impressed me again upon rereading. Diaz was great and Murakami pretty amazing. The Malouf book is also very good, though I would put it in the category of respect rather than love.

Still, I'm not done. Today, I hope to read Antonio Tabucchi's Pereira Declares, a novel about Salazarist Lisbon. It's short and I have to fly from New York to Texas tonight. So I should get through it. After that, I still hope to get through:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
Alice Munro, Love of a Good Woman
Ann Enright, The Gathering
Tomas Eloy Martinez, Santa Evita

I've read the Marquez and Twain before. I'm trying to prioritize re-reading novels of late. Even though I don't have time to read much of anything, I still think it's important to remember what you do read by occasional re-readings.