This summer I’ve been indulging in a lot of pleasureful reading. I thought that after finishing college (3+ years ago) and becoming free of textbook obligations, I would read as much fiction as possible. Instead I found myself feeling guilty for not spending my spare time reading something that would improve my education, worldly or spiritual. Guilt be gone. I’m completely enjoying this summer’s reading, and though I’m not crossing anything off of my “2010 Must Read” list, I’ve come across some interesting writing and really, there is nothing that says summer better to me than to lie on a blanket in the shade, book in hand.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
Told from the perspective of two women whose stories eventually intertwine, Hosseini gives an account of the last 30 war torn years in Kabul, Afghanistan. Joel & I actually read this book together, and we found ourselves outraged, heartbroken, laughing and rejoicing alongside the characters. Though only by words on a page, it did really seem to give us a glimpse of what life has been like for the people of Afghanistan in recent times. Hosseini’s description was so beautiful that it has made us slightly obsessed with Afghanistan the country (totally have found myself googling images).
- The Living by Annie Dillard
First off, I’d just like to declare my undying love for Annie Dillard. She never disappoints me. She is truly an artist, and I count her among the few authors I would willingly read just for their way with words, to say nothing of the story at large. In “The Living” Dillard chronicles the lives of five families living in the Bellingham Bay area of Washington State during the pioneer era. I’ve always been fascinated by those first few who packed all their life up in a wagon, crossed the Mississippi, buried loved ones, stared down the Rockies, and just kept trudging until they hit the Pacific Ocean. Dillard portrays how these stalwart individuals continue to settle into the wilderness, despite the constant pattern of being beat down and built up.
- Grayson by Lynne Cox
I read this entire book in one afternoon at the beach (a fitting setting). If you have any affinity for things of the Sea, I recommend you pick up a copy and do the same. Cox’s account of a true life encounter with a baby gray whale is so perfectly descriptive, it left me feeling that I had witnessed the entire thing firsthand. And, seeing as most of us are not professional deep sea swimmers, living vicariously through Cox is probably the closest we’ll ever get.
- Rosie by Anne Lamott
I really enjoy Anne Lamott’s writing in the form of her autobiographical accounts and other non fiction. Bird-by-Bird is one my favorite books on writing, and Traveling Mercies is one of my favorite books on faith. But her fiction, not so much. This is the third novel by Lamott that I’ve read, and its simply not to my liking. It’s well written, but the story doesn’t pull me in. Perhaps its too daily life. Too close to the stories I already know. Not quite the escape that I look for in fiction. However, should this review not stop you from reading “Rosie” you may just enjoy it. It’s the story of a mother and daughter. The mother, widowed at a young age, turns to alcohol and barely makes it through her days, repeatedly disappointing her daughter until one day her daughter reaches a crisis that causes her to begin to pull herself together. There are other characters who provide an outlet for friendship, romance, and a little laughter. But for me, the sadness overwhelmed all the rest.