Summer Reading List

Summer is definitely upon us, so it's time I set some goals for my summer of reading. I just finished Michael Oren's Six Days of War about the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and have had my interest in Middle East history sufficiently revived to lead me straight on to Abraham Rabinovich's The Yom Kippur War. Beyond that, however, I plan to devote the summer to fiction.

Rather than try to actually sift through the many worthy books on my bookshelves, however, I've devised a rather silly but simple scheme. I picked the very first book on my shelves (which are alphabetized by author) and then the very last, then the second book, and the second to last, and so on. The only other rule was that I only chose one book per author. Here's the initial twelve:

Anthills of the Savannah - Achebe
Memoirs of Hadrian - Yourcenar
Brick Lane - Ali
Collected Stories - Yates
Alias Grace - Atwood
Native Son - Wright
Go Tell It on the Mountain - Baldwin
The House of Mirth - Wharton
Cousin Bette - Balzac
The Day of the Locust - West
The Angel on the Roof - Banks
Fingersmith - Waters

It seems like a pretty good mix. I'd love to get beyond twelve, but this whole list is premised on my finishing Cervantes' Don Quixote. I'm greatly enjoying the work, which is much more humorous than I'd expected, but it is almost 1000 pages long. I'm also reading Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, which my wife and I are reading for our two-person book club. So I'm trying to set realistic expectations. At this point I'd be quite happy if I make my way through Paddy Clarke, Quixote and the list above before fall. It'll be a wonderful summer just trying.