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Summer Reading?

 
 
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2003 04:36 pm
It's commonly assumed that readers like escapist fare during warm weather--e.g., mysteries and thrillers--but I've always wondered if that's true. Seems to me, if we're on vacation and have time to read at all, we might want to tackle something that demands more attention than we can usually spare.

Anyhow, I'm wondering what people think about that. And, more importantly, what do you plan to read this summer?
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 09:45 am
I'll get the ball rolling: I plan to read "Dark Star Safari", Paul Theroux's book of travel through Africa. He visited some of the same countries he'd served in as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early '60s...
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Piffka
 
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Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 09:56 am
Not sure if I change my reading habits from one season to another. I always thought the idea for "summer reading" (assuming you're in the Northern Hemisphere) was a cheap book that wouldn't break your heart if it fell into the bay, got suntan lotion prints stains or was torn slightly when the kids & dogs fell on it. Wouldn't that be just about any paperback book? Particularly one that was cheap?

That said, I have got a book in mind for reading soon as I get my hands on it. Friends have recommended a book called Swallow or perhaps Sparrow -- what might alsos have been called (think the Muppets show now) Jessss-uuuu-iiit-s in Spaaaace. I suppose, as a science fiction book, it might classify as proper "summer reading" material.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 10:09 am
I think you're right, Piffka, about paperbacks, salt water, and sun-tan lotion. Shows how much time I've spent on the beach that I forgot all about that! And I guess the preference for paperbacks also relates to travel--no one want to haul a heavy tome in their luggage...
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Piffka
 
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Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 10:21 am
Right -- the weight is important, even in a beach bag... and then there's the damage caused by sun exposure, y'know how the pages will darken? You would definitely not want a "good" book to be wrecked that way. Or at least somebody who was fussy wouldn't! Since most of my books are old or second-hand, I'm not so particular.

When I was young we were allowed to lay about on the beach as long as we were doing something worthwhile... so my beach companion and I spent one summer reading a couple of Shakespeare's plays to each other. Apparently not very well, since I cannot remember which plays they were -- at least I remember they were paperbacks.

BTW -- I like Paul Theroux's travel books. He's done rail-trips across China, down to S.America, etc., and I adore his book about England... walking clock-wise around the island. He can be quite amusing. I hope you like Dark Star Safari.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 10:39 am
I'm sure I'll like Theroux's latest. Like you, Piffka, I've enjoyed his earlier travel books. The way he depicts the people he meets makes them like characters in a novel. And I love his persona in these books, a real curmudgeon. Now that he's 60, he can really play that role!

Plus I figure something set in Africa can give me a sense of heat, even if we have a typically cool NW summer...
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Piffka
 
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Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 11:31 am
I've just been looking at the Amazon selection for Dark Star... you can buy it with Bill Bryson's African book for a savings. (Bryson is sometimes quite amusing.) All the Amazon reviewers seem to highly recommend it -- I think I may need to look for it, too.

We could spend our entire literary summer in Africa and would surely feel the heat! I've heard though, that our summer is supposed to be spectacular. Let's hear it for Global Warming!
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 09:00 am
Nice choices! I can read in the repair shop; I can read in restaurants; but I can't seem to read on the beach. Being a pinkish, frecklish person, I guess it has to do with the amount of time I can spend in a bathing suit in the sun!

But as the days get longer (and where I live, very hot and quiet), I get up earlier and sit down with my mug of caffeine in my favorite chair and do the most intensive reading of the day for about an hour (dogs looking at me with eyes saying Aw c'mon c'mon!). In summer that tends to be philosophy, psychology, and religion for no reason that I can figure.

But I love travel reading and Granta and the Paris Review and things like that in summer, too. Bryson. Pico Iyer. *Peregrine Hodson's Under a Sickle Moon*, Jonathan Raban, Kapucinski. **Caroline Alexander's The Way to Xanadu.** I wish I could remember the title of Dervla Murphy's book on biking across Afghanistan (and more). (I'll read just about anything written about Central Asia.)

Which reminds me of one of my favorite books of all time which I think I'll reread this summer: Prokosch's The Asiatics.
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 09:06 am
Here's the Murphy book -- only recently in paperback in this country. I remember devouring it when it first came out in the '60's and she's written a lot since. A very humorous Irish writer who takes funny and challenging trips. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0879512482/qid=1051023759/sr=1-21/ref=sr_1_21/103-2604911-8891861?v=glance&s=books
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Lorna
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 11:32 am
I use the summer to catch up on stuff I haven't had the chance to read during the year. Usually this means anything I've given up in favour of a book I have to analyse for an essay. Also I have a list of 'Always wanted to read but not enough time' books that I go through. At the beginning of summer I have these ideas about plowing through my school reading lists, but it never seems to happen...a friend of mine says that summer is reserved for 'bubble gum' books...and sometimes I go for escapeism, but in my opinon all books are a form of escape.

Reading this thread makes me want to make a drink with an umbrella in it and go and find a sunny spot/ beach. When I read paperbacks, I always roll the spine, and end up with covers that liberate themselves from the book. I hate books that don't close, lol...

Lorna
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Piffka
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 11:44 am
That Dervla Murphy sounds like quite an adventurer! Not being much of a bike rider myself, I can scarcely imagine riding so far, but how freeing it would be.
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Algis Kemezys
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 03:00 pm
Crete on the Half Shell is literary food for your sence of adventure, fun and intrigue.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 04:04 pm
I guess it would also be interesting to know how advanced the warm weather is in various climes as we speak. Here it's still misty and grey most days, though there are hints of nicer days to come. Summer reading is more of an abstract concept at the moment, at least for me...
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 04:30 pm
We're misty and grey here too, today, but I was thinking as I drove into town that this may be the last coolish (mid-60's) weather we see until October. In another day or so, the sun will be out, everything blooming, the grass growing visibly as one stands there watching it. The cats start to get logy and stretch out to their fullest on the cool tile floor... I wish I were less of a New England Puritan who feels it's sinful to take time off during the day to Sit and Read...
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mamajuana
 
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Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2003 10:30 pm
I'm certainly no New England Puritan (although I come from a state that had Blue Laws), but I find it difficult to read during the day even though I'm now retired. Guilt trip. So I read late at night usually. Now I can sleep late in the mornings.

I am planning a re-read. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It's been ages, and I don't really remember most of it, but I found it again in a book case. Adventure sci-fi, if I recall.

Beach reading, in the old days, was usually late in the afternoon. Always a paperback, and I would read while my husband surf-fished. Of course, those were also the days when I could easily get up from a sand chair.
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2003 08:04 am
LOL!
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2003 09:40 am
I'm still planning to make Theroux's "Dark Star Safari" my summer book, but I may cheat a bit. Summer here can be a bit delayed (sometimes not really starting until mid-July), and I may want to begin the book before then. But I just got his book on V.S. Naipaul ("Sir Vidia's Shadow" I think it is; I don't have it here with me now), and maybe that'll be first...

No beach reading for me, though, just on the deck behind the house, a beer and perhaps a cigar by my side...
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dreadnought
 
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Reply Sun 18 May, 2003 01:29 pm
Where I live the problem is not too much sun, more like how to keep a good book dry. Today the rain is incessant, the seedlings are drowning but I am curled up with Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg. I've read it many times but it is a good yarn and each read brings out something new. I am also picking up and putting down The Oxford Book of Light Verse as I enjoy reading good poetry.

As this is my first post I'll shut up now.
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New Haven
 
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Reply Sun 18 May, 2003 01:35 pm
I'd like to read the latest JFK biography, "Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963), which can be orded at amazon.com.
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Lorna
 
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Reply Sun 18 May, 2003 01:43 pm
Hi dreadnought,

Jusified Sinner is exellent, isn't it?

And welcome to the A2K...

Lorna
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