I admire those authors, editors and journalists who manage to do their work while reading a phenomenal number of books, about and beyond their latest project. I secretly hope that I can trick myself to read at half that speed. This year I aim to step outside of my comfort zone with these six picks.
Here is a list of fiction and nonfiction books that I am planning to read this summer:
- Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
- The Man Without a Shadow: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- Just Kids by Patti Smith
The book that I’m currently reading is Man Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes’s new book “Levels of Life,” published in 2013. It is a small collection of essay, fiction and heartbreaking memoir. The first section, “The Sin of Height,” is a historical essay that revolves around the “aerostatic photographs” of Paris taken in 1858 by the French balloonist Nadar. I’m reading stories about 19th-century ballooning enthusiasts for the first time and it has been an interesting reading experience. The book’s second section, “On the Level,” is a fictionalized account of a love affair between two balloonists. The final section, “The Loss of Depth,”is a greif memoir about the loss of his wife, the literary agent Pat Kavanagh.