Summer Reading 2014

Summer Reading 2014

One of my favorite things is introducing my friends to one another. That works with people, and it works with books. If you are creating a summer reading list, you could do worse than to spend time with these dear friends:

Its an appropriate year to read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She was an amazing woman. We will miss her and this is her story, well told and easy-to-read.

If you want a classic for a time-consuming beach read, my two favorite volumes from the past few years have been George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Some adults may need a reminder that classics are worth reading because they are superior in story, style and content, and not because they are boring. Reading about Russia during the Napoleonic Wars had no appeal to me as a teenager. But, I am no longer a child. Neither are you.

I became a huge fan of Wendell Berry a few years ago, and recommend Jayber Crow, Hannah Coulter and Three Short Novels (Nathan Coulter, Remembering, A World Lost). His stories, set in rural and small town Kentucky, are warm, nurturing, honest, and fine. Do yourself a favor. Read Wendell Berry. His books are to be savored.

As a South Carolinian, I would be remiss not to mention Pat Conroy’s The Death of Santini, the non-fiction account of Conroy’s contentious and complex relationship with his dad. I don’t think you can get your passport stamped to get back into South Carolina without reading Conroy’s latest.


Categories: Book Review, South Carolina, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Summer Reading 2014

  1. Middlemarch is fantastic. I read it way back in the day and a few years ago as part of a Winter Reading Group I am in. Fantastic book. As much as I love “Anna Karenina,” and I really do – I’ve struggled with “War and Peace.” Started it at least 3 times, made it through about a third of the way through before falling off of it, maybe 6-7 years ago. I really need to give it another try.

    • John, A few years ago, Pat Conroy recommended both of those books in My Reading Life, so I took the plunge. Seemed like everybody I knew was reading War and Peace, all because of Conroy’s recommendation. My copy, pictured with the blog, had a cheat sheet (actually a booklet) that came with it to help with the characters. It took some plugging, but finally, I got to the tipping point and ended up loving it. In fact, we have a trip to St. Petersburg planned this summer (as part of a cruise) specifically because of War and Peace. I knew nothing about that history, that St. Petersburg was really a European city that spoke French. Who knew? Hang it there.

  2. Try The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Though written for younger readers, this new author (who is also both a doctor and a lawyer) has a voice close to Harper Lee! Thanks for the list!

  3. Thanks. Good choices. WB should be much better known .. Very deep thinker. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox.

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