Sunday, July 8, 2018

Summer reads, 2018 edition

Instagram photo by me

LNP/LancasterOnline published its "Summer reads: Recommendations from Lancaster County readers" this weekend, and it's full of terrific suggestions from librarians, educators and public officials.

I also have a few picks appearing in the LNP list. Unsurprisingly, when I was asked for my submissions, I wrote way too many words about too many books. Space is at a premium in newspapers these days, so my selections understandably had to be trimmed down. Here, for posterity, is my full original list. Share your summer reads in the comments or tweet them @Papergreat!

  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life (2010) by Bill Bryson. If you love general history books that are packed with ideas, famous (and forgotten) figures, outrageous anecdotes, and the kinds of historical connections that would make James Burke proud, this is the doorstop of a book for you.
  • The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence (2010) by Paul Davies. I'm only a third of the way through this history and criticism of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Some of the theories and proposals presented here have already blown my mind a little bit.
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing (2018) by Brooke Bolander. You can polish off this novella, which is less than 100 pages, in an afternoon. But the alternate-history tale of elephants, electricity and atoms might stick with you much longer than that.
  • Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash (2012) by Edward Humes. This insightful book by Humes, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, will educate you on the depths of how much waste (and plastic!) society generates, but it also offers hopeful paths and ideas toward sustainability and shepherding of the environment. [I wrote more about this book on Earth Day.]
  • In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox (2016) by Carol Burnett. I grew up with Mr. Tudball, Mrs. Wiggins, Eunice, and all of the others dreamed up by Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway, so this memoir should provide plenty of chuckles.
  • Dancing on Blades: Rare and Exquisite Folktales from the Carpathian Mountains (2018) by Csenge Virag Zalka. I grew up on folk and fairy tales, especially those by Ruth Manning-Sanders, and I still seek them out at age 47. This collection of traditional tales unearthed by a young Hungarian storyteller is indeed "exquisite," and fun for all ages.
  • The Ladies-In-Waiting (2017) by Santiago Garcia, Javier Olivares and Erica Mena (translator). This one's a gorgeous graphic novel. About 17th century Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. With a complex plot that jumps back and forth between about four timelines. At this point, you're either deeply intrigued or quickly skipping ahead to the next book.
  • Swimmer Among the Stars (2017) by Kanishk Tharoor. I love short-story collections — I also have volumes by Paige Cooper, Richard Wright, Jamel Brinkley and Carmen Maria Machado stacked up and ready to go. And maybe I'll switch over to spooky short-story scribes Kelly Link and Robert Aickman once Halloween season rolls around.
  • Time is the Simplest Thing (1961) by Clifford D. Simak. A newspaper journalist who wrote novels and short stories on the side, Simak is best known for his "pastoral sci-fi." This tale isn't so much in that vein, but is a thought-provoking romp involving witches, space travel, superstitions and an all-powerful commerce-and-innovation corporation that might seem very familiar to today's readers.
  • What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (2006) by John Markoff. This history book promises hippies and hackers, California living and computer culture. Count me in.

No comments:

Post a Comment