English major Jessica Chace recently wrote to ask what folks in the English department were reading this summer, so we did a quick poll. Here are reports from far-flung students and faculty:
Jessica Chace is finishing up The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty. “The title is a bit of misnomer,” she writes, “–it’s actually about an overweight Vietnam vet who bikes across the country after his parents are killed in a car accident.”
Prof. Jim Miller recently read Karen Tei Yamashita’s 2010 novel I Hotel, a finalist for the National Book Award. Jim describes the book as a “pastiche” about 1960s radicalism. It’s also on my to-read list. But before that, I have to finish Teju Cole’s critically lauded Open City. And before that I had the pleasure of re-reading David Ritz’s biography of Marvin Gaye, Divided Soul.
Office Manager Constance Kibler is about to dig into Silver Sparrow by former Jenny McKean Moore Washington Writer-in-Residence Tayari Jones. Her ongoing summer reading project is to read Les Miserables in French. “I always get to the same spot–page 17–and then I stop,” she says. “Last summer is the last time I picked it up. I have it by my bed.”
Speaking of European blockbusters, English major Megan Moore is reading Anna Karenina. And Kelsey O’Brien (GW ’11) “highly recommends” Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. “I am currently almost finished with the book; it is easily my favorite already,” she writes
Creative Writing Prof. Tom Mallon is re-reading Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, in preparation for writing an introduction to a 100th anniversary edition of the book.
English major (and former blogger) Paula Mejia has this to write from Texas: “Two notable books I’ve read this summer are Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, which recently won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as Jon Ronsen’s The Psychopath Test. After hearing him speak and read an excerpt from his new book at this year’s AWP Conference, I’m current reading Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, which is odd but enjoyable so far.”
What are you reading, dear reader, when you’re not reading this blog?