The start of summer officially came and went, long after summer weather actually arrived, and this means I’m well overdue for an evaluation of what I plan to read during the upcoming months of blazing sunlight, a lazy half-attempt to go to the beach, short breaks in the shade during kayaking trips, and lots of walking around looking for the Mr. Softee truck in Manhattan. This list is far from definitive, but these are the ones waiting at the top of the stack. So here you go, my summer reading list for 2014. What are your suggestions?
Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst
The latest from the historical espionage master, Mr. Furst. I’m a big fan of his Night Soldiers series, and I’ve already started this one. So far I must admit it isn’t ranking up there with his strongest works. It's mid-tier right now, but if you’re looking for a little European intrigue that take splace on the cusp of WWII, this is your go-to author.
The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig
I actually already read this one last year. In fact, I edited this one last year, but it’s one of those books that I'd suggest writers reread every year (or every few months, really) because it is chock full of hilarious and bawdy—and truly helpful—writing advice on everything from writing great characters to defeating writer’s block to earning an kick-ass audience. It’s a fun book, and I’m excited to dive back in.
Everything Neon by Bud Smith
Poetry by one of New York’s best. This collection is all about the madness and beauty that comes with living in “the city.” I’ve seen him read live, I’ve read about ¼ of this collection, and if the rest of this book is as good as what I’ve gotten thus far, it’s going to be a solid-gold keeper. Get a copy if you want some good new poetry that’s worth a damn (‘cause a lot of it out there isn’t).
The Hobo Handbook by Josh Mack
I don’t know much about this one except that it claims to offer info on every aspect of living a life on the rails and road, so I’m looking forward to checking it out. As the editor of Hobo Camp Review, I feel it’s my duty to make sure hobos are repped properly, so I’ll let you know what I think of it. Looks fun though!
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
This one came highly recommended by some good friends, and I’m about 15% of the way through it so far. It’s going to take me a while because it’s a long one and I'm reading other books as I go along, but so far so good. It takes the reader through the intricately weaved tale of a mute boy (who can hear and sign to communicate) growing up on a remote dog kennel. I hear it’s supposed to follow the general plot-line of Hamlet, so things should start getting really interesting. (Not that it hasn’t thus far, but…)
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This one has been on my list for years and I finally grabbed a copy. Whether it's war fiction (like this) or first-hand accounts of soldiers at war, I'm intrigued but how they dealt with the stress and strain, the politics, the fear, and anger, the loneliness, and this is supposed to be one of the best about the Vietnam era.
10:30 on a Summer Night by Marguerite Duras
I only recently discovered Duras when I read a quote from one of her books that blew my mind and stilled my heart in the same exact moment. I picked this one up at random. I don’t know the body of her work very well so it might be a good choice, might be bad, we’ll see. I flipped through a few pages and the prose is beautiful…like a lady Hemingway but with more grace. I hope that’s not a shitty way to describe her. I guess I’ll find out soon.
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
This is a pure “fun” pick. It’s a zombie novel in which superheroes and supervillains survived the outbreak and are fighting the hordes, as well as each other and the remaining humans who get in their way. It’s The Walking Dead meets The Avengers. Sounds awesome, so I’m in!!!