Summer reading list

July 1, 2011

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.

Woody Guthrie: American Radical, by Will Kaufman. I love musician biographies; Humphrey Carpenter’s of Benjamin Britten is the most fascinating book I’ve read in years. I also love Guthrie’s music--he’s so much funnier and sharper-edged than the earnest troubadours who mimicked him in the 60s--and I’ll read anything about politics.

The Man With Two Arms,
by Billy Lombardo. Lombardo’s story collection/novella hybrid How to Hold a Woman is a modest but devastating depiction of a troubled marriage. His latest is about Chicago and baseball, and I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet.

The Balloonists, by Eula Biss. Last summer I spent a couple days at a lily-white beach town on the Jersey shore, where I read Biss’s Notes From No Man’s Land, an astonishingly wise set of meditative essays on race. Now I want to read her earlier collection, which I expect will be less focused but no less provocative and gorgeously written.

Peeling the Onion
and The Box, by Günter Grass. The third volume of Grass’s memoirs will soon be translated into English. Guess I’d better get cracking on the first two--his Danzig Trilogy pretty much blew my mind.

The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard. I’ve been putting this one off ever since I heard Dillard tell Scott Simon that after ten years work on this novel, she’s afraid she literally, physically can’t write or type anymore. I haven’t been ready to read my last Annie Dillard book, but it might be time.