2016 Summer Reads Week 4 Update
Can you believe we’re already on 2016 Summer Reads Week 4? Time goes so fast in the summer (and so very slow from October through May!). Today is the summer solstice and the strawberry moon, which is apparently a lifetime experience, as the two events coincide once every 70 years. It was super-hot today, 77 and humid at 7am. However, I like my summers where I can really feel ’em, so it works for me. It would be interesting to be in Sweden today. They really know how to celebrate Midsummer.
Anyhow, I need to get back to the topic at hand, instead of flights of fancy about the solstice. I am having difficulty keeping my feet on the ground and my thoughts in my head today.
This past week, I finished A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin. It’s a book of short stories. There are a ton of them, some characters or similar going back and forth between some but not all stories. I’ll admit, it took me some time to really get into this book. About 100 pages in, I was still thinking maybe I’d stop reading it. But then something happened, and it became delightful. Her writing style is lovely. From “Mourning”
I’ve been working for Arlene, at Central Reality. Cleaning empty houses mostly, but even empty houses have stories, clues. A love letter stuffed way back in a cupboard, empty whiskey bottles behind the dryer, grocery lists . . . “Please pick up Tide, a package of green linguini and a six pack of Coors. I didn’t mean what I said last night.”
In the end, I liked it so much, I plan on saving it and re-reading it again so I can savor every word. If you are like me and are generally not a fan of short stories, but want to try something to work on a bit, I suggest this book. You should do what I did not, however. Read the introduction and forward first. They will give you some ideas for what to look for and how to read the book. If I had read them first, I’d probably have enjoyed those first hundred pages a bit more.
Next up is a lighter read, As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel, by Elizabeth Poliner.
Here is my Summer Reads 2016 list:
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel by Elizabeth Poliner
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel by Dominic Smith
Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman
A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin
The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander
Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman
Like Summer Reads? More here: