What am I reading? So much good stuff! Here are my summer reads so far. Don't read too much into the order of things. It's roughly the order in which I read them.
1. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. This is actually the first of a trilogy of dystopian novels that follow a group of survivors in the aftermath of a human-created virus that has wiped out almost everyone. No one does dystopia like Atwood. All three books are smart, funny, wise, and action packed. Can someone just give Atwood her Nobel Prize already? She is as good at it gets.
2. The Wordy Shipmates and Assassin Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Okay. Strictly speaking I did not read them. I listened to them while driving, cooking, etc. Time well spent people! The first book is a history of the Puritans in New England and the other is about the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. I can only say that I wish I put my PhD in history to good use and wrote these brilliant books. Funny, smart, and so interesting--I can't help thinking that people would love history if all historians wrote like Sarah Vowell. Also, she is a great reader. These are definitely good audio book choices.
3. Not a good audio book choice: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Barbara Kingsolver: you are brilliant and this memoir of your year of eating local and growing all your own food is educational and politicizing. I'll visit the farmer's market more often, I promise. But MY GOD take it down a notch! Enough about your children who beg you for fruit and who can't get enough kale and raise their own chickens. And then you have the nerve to tell me how you all lay laughing on your bed one morning listening to your male roosters learn to crow. Show some grace. At least throw me a tantrum every now and then.
4. Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. I know you love this book. Everyone loves this book, which is why I tried it a second time. I got farther this time, but I still couldn't finish it. Use some proper nouns, Hillary. How else can I tell who is talking? Still, if you want to read about Henry VIII and his attempt to dump the first wife to get a new one, give it a try. Don't read it digitally. This is a book you will need to flip back and forth between. You need paper. People I respect love this book. I acknowledge that I might be wrong about this one.
5. Famous Baby by Karen Rizzo. On the surface, this seems like a book about mothers and daughters, but it is really about the stories we tell, the stories we don't tell, and who gets to not only tell those stories but own them. It is a quick read that is funny and breezy, so much so that you might miss the deeper questions it ponders. Don't miss them. They give this beach read worthwhile substance.