Last summer we couldn’t wait to read The House in France by Gully Wells and Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. Sadly, this summer, there are few new books that are destined for our beach bags. So we decided this is the year to re-read not only our own favorites, but each others’ as well.
Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. At the top of my favorite book list for quite a while. Didion’s classic from 1970 is a cautionary tale of a young woman who succumbs to the banalities of a soul-less Hollywood. Think of it as the Less Than Zero of the 70s, but far more poetic and sad.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lhari. Lhari mostly writes about Indians struggling with traditions in their homeland and America. There is a realistic, touching quality to her words and the title story evokes the mysticism and romance of India.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. I am a sucker for big romance and this heart-breaking story has it with a capital R. The movie that came out in the late 90s with Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas works just as well, but the part when Laszlo must leave Katherine behind in the cave–I cry buckets!
When You’re Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. Because it’s summer and you need some levity. The birds in the house in France and his grocery store experiences in Japan still make me laugh on a third read.
Julia Leach tucked Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem in her Chance event gift bags and after reading the first two stories, I went on a bit of a Didion binge and bought The Year of Magical Thinking, Play it as it Lays and The White Album.
Evening by Susan Minot. The movie did this wonderful book a great injustice and deserves a re-read.
Mohawk by Richard Russo. One of my favorite authors and I have read all of his books except his first. I will this summer.
Topics: David Sedaris, Jhumpa Lhari, Joan Didion, Richard Russo, Susan Minot