What are you hoping to
read this summer? We posed this question to the Century staff, a group of people with diverse tastes
and interests. Along with commenting on our choices, feel free to post your own
in the comments. --Ed.
now, my ideas about summer reading were driven largely by guilt. My bookshelf
is packed to the gills with books that I "should" read: books people have given me and I need
to return, or books that have been sitting there so long, I have given myself
ultimatums--either read this or get rid of it.
recently, a couple of books have drifted my way that I cannot wait to dive into
and that will usurp all the guilt-ridden "shoulds" of my bookshelf.
One is Lives
Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and her Family's Feuds, by Lyndall Gordon. I have long
been fascinated by Dickinson, drawn like many others to the image of her
reclusive life, her choice to remove herself from the world. But Gordon's
version of Dickinson is poised to give me another view of the
anything-but-tranquil home life of this visionary poet.
newly arrived on my desk is Kathryn Lofton's Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon. Lofton, a professor at Yale,
reads Oprah through the prosperity gospel and the consumer-driven ideal of
always starting anew, what Lofton calls "makeover as social rite." Since I've
long preferred analyzing Oprah to watching her show or reading her magazine,
this book is tantalizing.
I am eager to begin reading poet Gregory Orr's memoir The Blessing. It begins with this impossible
question: "Do I dare say my brother's death was a blessing? Who would recoil
first from such a statement?" When Orr was 12 years old, he killed his brother
in a hunting accident. This event both completely unmade and then re-made his
life. Orr explores the haunting territory of tragedy transformed into beauty.