Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Syllabi

On the eve of her first real vacation in two years [Ed. Note: What is wrong with Ed.???], Betty is remembering great summer reading experiences. She reads so much less fiction these days, and connects this loss to the loss of her long, boring, beautiful summers. Maybe she needs to make every season into a summer in her mind. Starting this fall!

Surprisingly, though, Betty experienced many of her most memorable summer reads vicariously: Nancy D. devoting an hour a day to Gone with the Wind, Papi shifting into "summer fiction mode" on themes like British or Irish or Latin American or Arab world literature, Gaby getting into The Grapes of Wrath, Mami requesting White Teeth, and finishing it overnight (so it seemed).

Betty's own summer reads tended to be a little less classic, but no less fun. She remembers well the visceral snake-like prose of Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde, Barry Williams' oft-thumbed autobiography, Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg, and Julio Cortazar's pocket-sized novella about Charlie Parker, El Perseguidor (The Pursuer), a treasured gift from one Venus Infers.

What are your favorite summer reading memories? What are you reading this summer?


venus infers said...

wow dear, you still have it! how delightful to know that--
oh well, despite the fact that i was surrounded by books for most of the summer, i didn't really have time to read much. i have a list of to-read-for-pleasure books, for the two weeks before school begins again, starting with mishima's "spring snow," some lawrence and miller for those oh so hot summer nights, and a book of short stories by pasolini (the film director) that i can no longer remember where i last left... --v.

Montserrat Nicolás said...

betty and bimbo-

have something for ya on the blog...just because we just remember that a certain someone had a certain elegant taste regarding burt b.


Speed McQueen said...

I'm always thrilled to post on summer reading. A list of what I've been up to:

James Salter's A Sport and a Pastime- A tale of love, sex and and a used shopgirl in late 60's France. Salter's prose is halting and dreamy, though he does make Dijon and the dusty Massif-Centrale appealing, something the French have yet to do.

Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach- McEwan hits paydirt again with this novella that makes me most happy to be neither English nor a virgin.

Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union- This expansive alternate history is gritty noir, modern geopolitics, and a touchingly ragged love-story. But more than all it's a mitzvah.

John Updike's Couples- Ah the vagaries of sleeping with all your friend's wives. A lousy thing to do to be sure, but good old Johnny is in fine form, and almost makes you want to try it.

Rousseau's Dog- A bit of non-fiction just for the hell of it. This one painstakingly details the bitter dispute between Hume and Rousseau over a none-too friendly joke the Scot made at the Swiss' expense that became public sport. Though Rousseau does seem to be rather crazy, you have to feel for the man. On the whole, I'd call this book Enlightening!

Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives- I've just begun this one but so far I'm quite impressed.

Anonymous said...

Since I have a fear about reading a bad book......which I don't about seeing many bad movies, I decided to go for two old faves: Portrait of a Lady, since I last read it in 1974 I guess I don't want to be Isabel Archer anymore, or maybe I still do, not sure....But I love her spirit, her independence which inspires as I navigate this new chapter in my life.
Also Tender is the Night to remember the golden Murphys in the Riviera and a new read, Goethe's Elective Affinities because it is the book they read in Jules et Jim (Catherine was my other aspirational fantasy)