Here at Book Review, we know what looked good to us on the summer bookshelves, but we couldn't help but wonder what some of our favorite authors were looking forward to tossing in their travel bag or bringing out to the backyard or the beach for one of those long, sunny afternoons. For many, the coming months seem to be a chance to catch up on those beguiling titles we somehow don't have time for the rest of the year but are oh-so made for summer.
Peter Bognanni, recently awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction for "The House of Tomorrow": Since I'm teaching a class on the novella in the fall, I'm looking forward to reading "Goodbye, Columbus" by Philip Roth again. There's something about that book that pulls me back. I read it for the first time as a teenager, and it has seemed to find me every few years since. I'm willing to admit that this might be because I have yet to fully enter the world of adulthood. Or maybe, it's just that good.
San Francisco: I will be spending a large portion of the summer with Dumas Malone's multi-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson.
Jonathan Evison, author of the novel "West of Here": Is this the summer I finally revisit "The Brothers Karamazov" or "Moby-Dick," two of my all time favorite novels? Perhaps. I might have to take them both out in my 1976 motor home/remote office and make that happen.
Yunte Huang, author of "Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History": I'll be judging the National Book Awards this year, so I look forward to reading about 600 nonfiction books this summer. The best summer reading I did in the past was in 1993 — I was working my butt off at a Chinese restaurant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., but I stole some time to read Ezra Pound, Emily Dickinson and William Faulkner on the greasy kitchen floor. Literature had never been tastier.
Tayari Jones, author of the novel "Silver Sparrow": I'd love to give a little love to some L.A. writers: if you're not familiar with the work of Nina Revoyr and Nichelle Tramble, check them out.
Anne Kreamer, author of the book "It's Always Personal: Emotion in the New Workplace": I'm eager to read Téa Obreht's "The Tiger's Wife," and my book club is reading Naguib Mahfouz's "The Cairo Trilogy" and Junichiro Tanizaki's "The Makioka Sisters."
Mark Kurlansky, author of "Salt," "Cod" and the new books "What?" and "World Without Fish": I have a pile all set to go, which includes lots of new books that aren't new anymore including a Roberto Bolaño novel, Roddy Doyle's "The Dead Republic," Chinese poetry by Bei Dao and Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Future."
Laura Lippman, author of the Tess Monaghan mysteries: I am a greedy, lustful reader with poor impulse control, so there's very little planning in my reading. Instead, here's my fantasy summer reading list: a new Bill Bryson, preferably a follow-up to "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," perhaps a memoir of his life as a journalist in London; a new Anthony Bourdain memoir or novel, I'm not choosy; a new Kate Atkinson novel, despite the fact that she just published a book; a new George Pelecanos (that one is actually achievable); a new audiobook by Julia Sweeney; a heretofore undiscovered manuscript by the criminally neglected Edward Eager.
Lisa Napoli, author of the memoir "Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth": This summer is all about researching and writing my next book, which is about building community. I can't wait to dive into "The Great Good Place" by Ray Oldenburg and re-read Robert Putnam's "Bowling Alone."
Mark Haskell Smith, author of the novel "Baked": Three of my favorite writers have new books coming out, so I'm looking forward to stretching out, mixing myself a frosty cocktail and cracking the spines on "The Twelfth Enchantment" by David Liss, "The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine" by Alina Bronsky and "This Is Where We Live" by Janelle Brown.
Charles Yu, author of the novel "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe": I read "Heat," by Bill Buford, in the summer of 2006. It was the perfect book for the onset of long, sunny days: You go on a journey with Buford to England, then Italy, then back to New York. I might just have to read it again this summer.
Matthew Zapruder, freshly minted Guggenheim Fellow and author of the poetry collection "Come on All You Ghosts": I am looking forward to finishing Javier Marías' trilogy "Your Face Tomorrow," I have read the first two volumes and am dying to read the third. He is by far my favorite living novelist. As far as great summer reads from the past, nothing will ever beat when I was 9 years old reading "Jaws" at the beach. Since then, my delicious fear of the ocean has never left me.
What's on these authors' summer 2011 reading list
Peter Bognanni, Chris Adrian, Jonathan Evison, Yunte Huang and others share their summer reading lists.
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