Chicago / literature

Reading Lists

Living without internet in my apartment has given me a lot of time to read–so that I’ve been reading about a book a day this summer. It brings me back to summers in high school, when I would leave the Centerville library with such a large stack of books that the librarians themselves would raise their eyebrows at me. My day (well, I guess evening) job affords me the time to read during shifts that are not particularly busy–not many people are picking up their phones to give money at this time of year.

It’s always somewhat difficult to choose summer reads. Should you give in to the dual temptations of beautiful weather and long empty days, and read chick lit/fantasy novels/all those books that an average UChicago student would not deign to be seen with during the school year? Should  the summer days be taken advantage of to tackle all those classics and hefty books that you somehow never got around to in two years of higher education? Should you dig out that old dog-eared copy of War and Peace and crack it open?

I’m actively looking for more books to read this summer. It’s a slightly daunting task. I know there are so many good books out there in the world, probably more than I could read in a lifetime, but how do I get to them? In high school, I would roam up and down the library aisles, running my hand along the book’s spines until one caught my eye. I know it’s “bad” to judge a book by its cover, but I also think you can tell a great deal about the book’s style from the cover its author has approved. I don’t look for a particular style. Anything interesting or beautiful is enough to give me pause. That foolproof way of stumbling onto great books that I otherwise would never have read, however, took a hit when I tried to do the same thing at our campus’ behemoth of a library and found myself staring down a row of books that had plain spines, with the titles typed out in near-identical fonts. Gone was the unique nature of each book, at least as represented by its outside covers.

So far, my favorite read of the summer has been Gary Shytengart’s Super Sad True Love Story, a biting satire of tech-mad America that is surprisingly tender and beautiful. I’m looking forward to reading Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, as well as Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants. Speaking of which–how old do you have to be to write a memoir? What must you have accomplished? I feel like Tina Fey is maybe a little young to be writing a life story, seeing as she has so much life left to live. Regardless, I am really looking forward to reading her book because the excerpts are hilarious. One reviewer described it as “a spiky blend of humor”. Spiky? Sounds dangerous.

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One thought on “Reading Lists

  1. Hey Esther! :D

    I started reading Bossypants but never finished because I was only reading a friend’s copy during commercials while watching Glee a few months ago. I made it through the first couple chapters, though, and it was hilarious. :) I haven’t done much reading this summer… the only book I’ve finished was The Bean Trees, which we read freshman year, remember?! :) I don’t know why… but I love that book. It was even better the second time around.

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