About ten years ago my father, Ed Fleishman, a professional New York club date musician, was in the Intensive Care unit of North Shore Hospital on Long Island following emergency heart surgery. Drugged and attached to tubes and beepers for days, he had begun having flashbacks about the 1939 New York City World's Fair. This is most likely why the hospital sent in a psychiatrist, named Dr. Klezmer, to determine his mental state. (Yes, the doc's name was really klezmer).
The first question Dr. Klezmer asked was, "Mr. Fleishman, is it hot in the summertime?" My father quickly replied, "Well it depends in what part of the world you are, Dr.Klezmer. I mean in Long Island, it's hot, but who knows what it's like in Australia." Needless to say, my father recovered fully in both mind and body. He also provided me with a lead-in to this entry on summer reading-in which I propose that what you read this summer has a lot to do with where in the world you plan to do the reading-considering mental, physical and virtual realms. Traditionally, of course, summer reading has to do with what New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin calls,"charmed lives, blue skies and location, location, location." She adds, "Just put a chef on a yacht on the Riviera and you have a 327-page book-sized vacation." Maslin's opinions come from a review that she wrote in June 2007, of Meg Wolitzers novel, aptly titled, Summer Reading. You can read the entire review, here:
But I'll offer a snippet of the review:
"Ms. Wolitzer understands the clientele for summer books. While the Page Turners struggle through Trollope and ask apt questions ("If novels are all, like, about morality, why are there so many descriptions of rooms and gardens and gowns?"), it's clear that "winter reading," or "that endless blizzard of pages flecked with the blown soot of words," isn't really what they're after. "
This may be why the June book group that I was asked to lead in a private home in Moraga on Cormac McCarthy's post apocalyptic, hell freezes over (literally) novel,The Road was cancelled due to lack of attendance. It might be because people were heading to wine country and Tahoe. But might it also have been because The Road is best savored in darker days and colder weather.
I get a month long vacation this summer, so for me, summer reading is about having longer stretches of time to read books that have been on my "to do" list all year. Among them are the complete series of five Maisie Dobbs mysteries written by Jacqueline Winspear. Our heroine, Maisie Dobbs, does her sleuthing in England between the two World Wars. No yachts on the Riviera here--although there is a summer of hops picking in Kent in her latest volume, An Incomplete Revenge. Also on the reading list for this transplanted New Yorker is the very long, Irving Stone's Men to Match My Mountains, (1987) a mostly nonfiction account of early California history. And to counter homesickness, I will be reading the brand new Netherland by Joseph O'Neill about finding community and meaning in NYC in the 21st century.
What are you going to read this summer? And why are you going to read it? And where are you going to read it? On a boat, on the plane, .....on an Amazon Kindle?
Causes Lauren John Supports
Keplers Bookstore Circle of Friends (Menlo Park)
Friends of the Menlo Park Public Library
Book Group Expo
Marin Agricultural Land Trust...