Summer Reading 2020
Summertime, but the livin' ain't easy... While we're pretty happy that 2020 is half-over, there's a whole lot more to be done for our selves, our communities, and the world. We hope you'll join us in taking some time this summer to read and reflect. To recharge and re-examine.
In keeping with tradition, we've put together our summer reading lists. Strictly for participation points--you won't be graded (we promise).
1. Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing - First of all, Olivia Laing is a genius. Second of all, there is no better time than right now, as we watch arts budgets being cut left and right, to read essays about how art can change the world.
2. The City We Became by N K Jemisin - I just finished Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy (an astonishing landmark in fantasy that I highly recommend), and I'm already feeling deprived of the matter-of-fact way she writes all the secrets she discovered about humanity with her x-ray vision. A new Jemisin novel featuring personifications of New York's boroughs locked in a deadly battle for survival? Yes, thank you!
3. Calamities by Renee Gladman - I really, really, really want to read these literary essays that trace the shapes between writing, the body, movement, and time into a three-dimensional architecture of life.
1. A House Is a Body by Shruti Swamy - SO. EXCITED. FOR. THIS. COLLECTION. I've heard nothing but good things about Swamy's writing and her debut promises a blend of fear and joy, myth and dreams, told with an electrifyingly fresh voice. People Who Know say it's perfect for fans of Carmen Maria Machado and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (so, basically, it's perfect for ME).
2. Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis - Isn't this everyone's required reading for the summer?
3. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - I somehow made it through my whole childhood without reading this. I'm hoping it'll be a good pick-me-up when I need to recharge.
1. The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood - A super buff orc lady who's a hit-man for an exiled wizard? Who would have thought I'd see those words together in one sentence? But there they are and I'm dying to know more about that!!
2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente - I'm always down for a new other-worldly adventure! Being a huge fan of A Wrinkle in Time and reading the description of this book series, I'm feeling this is the logical next step!
3. Jade War (Green Bone Sage #2) By Fonda Lee - Jade City was such a stand out when I read it in 2019, that I can't wait to get my hands on this book to pick up where I left off with this amazing cast of characters.
1. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - I hear that this is perhaps the most important work of the 20th century. It's a work of historical nonfiction exposing the Soviet Union's infamous forced labor camps. Solzhenitsyn put together the book thanks to many sources including himself, having experienced the horrors of socialism first-hand during his time in a gulag; an event in his life that seemed to have greatly inspired his work. The Soviet Union is luckily long-gone but the gulags still exist in countries such as North Korea, China, and Venezuela. This book is relevant today even after almost fifty years. Looking forward to reading this one.
2. Neuromancer by William Gibson - Growing up, I used to consume tons of science fiction; reading authors like Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein, and watching movies like Escape from New York. In my adult life, however, I've sadly neglected exposing myself to more from this genre. This book is a famous entry in the cyberpunk subgenre which follows a computer hacker and a cyborg mercenary in a future world with virtual reality. Published in the eighties, it's often credited with inspiring the development of the internet. As a kid, science fiction interested me because of its archetypes and aesthetics. As an adult, I am interested in how it often predicts the problems that affect humanity's existence in relation to technology. I have to get back on it.
1. Children Of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky - This book comes highly recommended to me as a good science fiction book with very weird lifeforms on another planet. That's enough for me to want to dig into it!
2. Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse - I've watched a lot of British comedy shows, and I figured now's a good time to check out some Wodehouse, the author whose works the Jeeves & Wooster TV show is based on.
3. Shadow & Claw by Gene Wolf - I'm generally not a fan of fantasy as much as I am science fiction, and this science-fantasy book has been recommended to me a good way to bridge the divide.
1. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo - Everyone I know who has read this book has simply raved and raved. I have had a galley staring at me since, well, too long, so I know that it is high time to jump into it. A decades spanning, multi-voiced novel really is my jam. And it won the Man Booker.
2. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr - I started reading this during the first week of shelter in place with the hope that it would only take me a few weeks...and I'm only halfway. But I am a sucker for the 'summer project' book and happy I am taking my time with it. I take breaks to watch film adaptations and reread scenes from plays as they come up, making it a really immersive experience. And once I finish I will move on to the letters!
3. Beloved by Toni Morrison - I haven't Toni Morrison's fiction so this is my first step to correct that!
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