Summer Reading Lists: We’re Supposed to Be Reading

By JC Lynne

originally posted July 26, 2019

It’s that time of year. Temperatures are up, so perhaps are tempers. Motivation is low, so is our energy. Some of us are traveling or just getting out of doors but it’s a truism of being a writer, we must read books. 

A lot of them.

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. – Ray Bradbury

Piles of books. You know you have them as well. The Japanese have a word to describe this phenomenon: Tsundoku. The owning of books in number beyond your ability to read them. The Beard and I shared this condition.

When the time came to merge our libraries, we faced a tough decision. We owned over five thousand books between us. Sure, it was easy to get rid of duplicate titles (we had many). Then we moved on to books we had already completed (some read more than once, cough cough, maybe fewer than fifty times). 

And finally, because we don’t have unlimited wall space, we had to figure out how to deal with our tsundoku.

In A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L’Engle described a house transformed from a multi-stall barn into a home with walls and walls of books. To this day, I’d love to live in a remodeled barn. 

I’m veering. We all have those piles. And my annual Dog Day survey begins:

I’ll go first:

In addition to the stack in the photo, I’m STILL working through Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. And work is exactly what reading it is. 

I’ve just started The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt 

I’m listening to Daemon by Daniel Suarez but let’s just say I’m not in love with the narrator.

I just gave up on The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. To be fair, a lot of people have been raving about this book, including The Beard but I just couldn’t do it. 

In my queue, The Fifth Season (Book One Broken Earth), Red Waters (Book Three The Devil’s West), and A Gathering of Shadows (Book Two Shades of Magic)

Brian Kaufman:

I’ve been finshing edits on two novels, so reading has taken a back seat. I can only mention three:

Karin Kaufman’s More Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins (my sister’s read-along story book for children).

Ellen Datlow’s horror collection The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen.

and for comfort (of a sort), I revisited an all-time favorite, Kent Haruf’s Our Souls at Night.

What are you reading?

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