What to read during summer? For some reason, this change in seasons begets a flurry of reading lists, usually composed of lighter fare, as if reading is somehow more suited to a balmy beach or park than to a comfortable bed or pillow-strewn couch. No matter your venue, once the equinox strikes (if you’re going by the astronomical start of summer), step away from this blog and do some reading. Here’s a collection of various summer reading lists and activities to keep you going until autumn.
- The internet has provided the foundation for some marvelous reading and writing communities, such as the annual National Novel Writing Month. This summer’s breakout digital literary event—if such a distinction can now be created and granted—may be Infinite Summer, in which participants from around the world commit to reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and discussing the experience together. The site features links, guides to DFW’s work, discussions, commentary, and much more, so order a copy of this 1,000-page monster and get going.
- In its May 31 issue, the NYTBR went with a categorized approach to summer reading recommendations: gardening, cookbooks, travel, and visual books. They also featured several other reviews of books, both fiction and nonfiction, about typical summer fare, like baseball, food, and travel (bicycles and road trips). The entire “Summer Reading” issue is available online.
- New York Magazine says that “reality rules” this summer, and so they’ve recommended books about languages, food, Newton’s war on counterfeiters, and the NYPD, with a few novels thrown in.
- The Los Angeles Times has a well-curated list of 60 titles being published throughout the summer. The synopses are brief, but with the wide selection offered here, you’re bound to find enough to satiate you.
- If you have children, there are many programs out there for promoting their involvement in books. Check with your child’s school or local library. Barnes & Noble offers a journal, activities, and a chance to earn a free book. SummerReading.org appears to offer a variety of books and activities throughout New York’s libraries for any age group.
- Salon has quite a bit of summer-reading content. They used Book Expo America as an opportunity to solicit recommendations from some leading writers, with video recommendations from Jonathan Lethem, Neil Gaiman, Berkeley Breathed, and others. Laura Miller offers a list of “Killer Thrillers;” Aleksandar Hemon’s “Love and Obstacles” (which I reviewed for the LA Times) is called a “must read;” the magazine’s staff presents four novels that “loosely fall under the category of chick lit;” finally, there’s a batch of “first-person narratives.” It seems like they’ll be adding more recommendations throughout the week, so check back in with them to keep up.