Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Reading Piles. . .

Summer's here and with the G20 in town, I'll be holing up in my apartment this weekend with a stack of reading and a bag of marshmallows, trying to pretend I'm actually at a cottage up north. But for book reps, this is that small wedge of time (fall 2010 selling's done and I have a few weeks until I have to think seriously about Spring 2011) when one can indulge in catch-up pleasure reading and also tackle that covetous category - other publishers books! (not that I don't do that regularly, but I feel less guilty in the summer). If you're heading on vacation and looking for recommendations for your own pile, I've posted my summer Dewey picks of nine great reads over on the sidebar, or you can read them here. To this list, I'd also enthusiastically add Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews by Sam Weller, which I'll be blogging about in more detail next week when the book releases. Added to that, here are 10 books that are calling out to me from my own pile of to-be-read pleasures - my M20 if you will.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. I've been reading stellar reviews of this but this one convinced me to add it to the pile.

Burley Cross Postbox Theft by Nicola Barker. I heard about this one from Rosalyn and it sounds absolutely wonderful. Two policemen try to solve a crime in a small English village by reading all the letters stolen from a postbox.

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner. A few years ago I read Claire Bloom's memoir Leaving a Doll's House - the bits detailing her affair with Burton were far more interesting to me than her subsequent relationship with Philip Roth. I can only imagine what this book digs up! The perfect beach read (well, I'm not going to the beach, but I can stick an umbrella into a glass of orange juice and have that near to hand).

The Letters of Sylvia Beach, edited by Keri Walsh. Beach is perhaps the most famous bookseller of all, the founder of Shakespeare & Company and responsible for publishing Joyce's Ulysses. I'm looking forward to immersing myself in a time when independent bookstores and a vibrant reading culture were so much more revered than now.

Speaking of books, I love novels set in the book industry - the more satirical the better - and so I have these three on the pile:

Heaven is Small by Emily Schultz
Bestseller by Alessandro Gallenzi
Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer (this also promises "thug librarians")

My summers are always filled with lots of theatre from the Shaw Festival to the Fringe, so I'm eager to read Nightwood Theatre: A Woman's Work is Always Done by Shelley Scott (no relation, but we did once work together in a bookstore). I've seen some terrific productions by this theater company where many Canadian women playwrights and actors first started (including Ann-Marie Macdonald). I'm sure this history will be a fascinating read.

I have a bit of a train fetish and Object Press, a tiny publisher based in Toronto has recently published In the Train by French writer Christian Oster, translated by Adriana Hunter. It promises to be a humourous love story.

And finally, I always try to tackle one big classic over the summer. This year it's Dostoevsky's The Idiot to complement the Akira Kurosawa retrospective that is currently on at Cinematheque (the Japanese film adaptation was quite stunning, if a bit strange).

Hope all of you have piles just as wonderful and enticing. Happy reading!


Anonymous said...

I'm a little late with this question but perhaps the Dewey Divas could help out. Given Rachman's birthplace and childhood years, it is difficult to figure out his citizenship. Does anyone know if The Imperfectionists qualfies for the Giller and G-G -- I'm presuming he's either a Brit or Canadian and will qualify for the Man Booker. Perhaps those in the industry could find someone who knows?

Maylin said...

That's a good question Kevin - let me see if I can find out. I'll post the answer here in the comments when I do.

Maylin said...

Yes, Tom Rachman is considered Canadian and eligible for all the Canadian literary awards, so presumably also for the Booker.