Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What I'm Reading on My Summer Vacation -- redux

Hi, readers,

In 72 hours, my week of BLOB (Books, "Lost", Oysters and Beer -- preferably on the deck of the Waterfront Restaurant overlooking Camden Harbor) begins.

For months, I've been looking at my bookshelves wondering what titles I should bring with me. Do I bring only backlist titles (those published more than a year ago) with me, or can I bring books yet to be published? How many books can I conceivably read in 10 days while visiting my very talkative family? Additionally, Michele Filgate got me hooked on the television show "Lost" and I still have four seasons to get through.

My colleague, Emily Crowe, reads the first few chapters of each book in contention for the coveted "vacation prize" to determine whether it's finalist. I, however, can't do that. If I start something and I like it, I wouldn't be able to put it down.

When I first started thinking about my vacation six months ago (yes, I plan that far ahead), I swore I was only going to bring books published before April 2008. Well, as the saying goes, best laid plans...

That was before I saw the Fall 2009 list (see earlier post). It's incredible. By far the best Fall list I've seen. I simply cannot exclude some of these books. They're calling out to me: "Please include me, pretty please.? I love you." How can I say no to that?

In all likely-hood, I won't be able to finish the 8 finalists, but I'm going to try. So, without further delay, here they are:

1) Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
2) The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
3) A Monster's Notes by Laurie Sheck
4) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
5) The Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
6) The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
7) The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway
8) America, America by Ethan Canin

I'm finishing up Dave Egger's new book, Zeitoun, about an Arab-American family's experience during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It's absolutely riveting. More on that later this week!

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