Summer reading list

What are you hoping to read this summer? We posed this question to the Century staff, a group of people with diverse tastes and interests. Along with commenting on our choices, feel free to post your own in the comments. --Ed.

The Chatelet Apprentice, by Jean-François Parot. I've been re-invigorating my French with the mystery novels of  French diplomat Jean-François Parot. (Several titles are available in English.) As police commissioner Nicolas Le Floch works to solves crimes in 18th-century Paris, author Parot expands the plot with descriptions of the era's culture, political intrigues and haute cuisine.

The Greater Journey, by David McCullough. Before I turn away from Paris, I want to read McCullough's book about the city in the 1800s, and about the many Americans of that era--James Fennimore Cooper, Mary Cassatt, Oliver Wendell Holmes--who went to France in their youth and then on to acclaim in art, medicine or politics.

Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries, by Helen Vendler. I read Brenda Wineapple's book White Heat last year, and am interested in dipping into Emily Dickinson's poems with Vendler as my guide.

One Hundred Names for Love, by Diane Ackerman. Out of respect for Ackerman the naturalist/writer (The Whale by Moonlight), I hope to try this more personal story. Ackerman's husband, author Paul West, was accustomed to communicating with an unusually rich, playful and sophisticated vocabulary until he had a stroke. Ackerman describes the stroke's devastation and the challenge and adventure of communicating with each other post-stroke.

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