Summer Reading: Gaiman and Kurkov
We’ve all been doing summer reading. I’ve read Neil Gaiman’s new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Andrey Kurkov’s Death and the Penguin, translated by George Bird. I’ll be happy to answer questions about them if you have any, but find no inclination to describe them at length. Basically, I found Death and the Penguin to be a dissonant summer read, filled with descriptions of Russian winter and post-Soviet machinizations. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a lovely little fantasy story.
Eleanor and Ron and I have been working in an overly air-conditioned college library. Walker and I have been going to rehearsals for The Music Man, which opens next Saturday. Walker accidentally fell off the stage into the orchestra pit last week, which brought back bad memories from the time when Eleanor fell off a stage and broke both her arms, but he seems to have fallen just right and suffered nothing except a bump on the back of the head and a sore back. We’re doing a lot of pet-sitting. The rain, it raineth every day.
I went through our books and pulled out a few that I thought Walker and Eleanor should read this summer:
John Gardner, Grendel
Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Anne Sexton, Transformations
Ellen Gilchrist, Victory Over Japan
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins
David Beniof, City of Thieves
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
Diana Wynne Jones, Archer’s Goon
Christopher Moore, Fluke
Cory Doctorow, Pirate Cinema
Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains
William Faulkner, Uncollected Stories
Walker Percy, The Last Gentleman
The Faulkner is in there because Walker and his girlfriend Stephanie decided they would read some of the same books during the coming academic year, when she will be at Kenyon and he at Oberlin, and they decided to start, for whatever reason, with Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I thought this was a poor choice to begin with, but they’ve read some Faulkner here and there, so they’re sticking with it. I said at least read some of the short stories first.
Eleanor has been showing me Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 5, Eleanor is showing Veronica Mars, season 2, to her friend Olivia, Ron and Eleanor are watching Warehouse 13, all of us are watching Doctor Who, different seasons, with different permutations of us, depending on who is home, some of us are watching Supernatural, season 6 with Ron, who is catching up to the rest of the family, and Walker is watching Avatar with Stephanie.
It has been cool and exceedingly rainy. We’ve only been able to go swimming with two of us once, but three of us have been to the movies to see the new Joss Whedon Much Ado About Nothing, which we enjoyed thoroughly. I am not fixing dinner very often (which is okay with me) because rehearsals start at 6 almost every night. Walker and I went to Mansfield to consult about having his wisdom teeth taken out.
If you could make me a list of eight titles to read this summer, what would be on it?