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.
The Chatelet Apprentice, by Jean-François Parot.
I've been re-invigorating my French with the mystery novels of French diplomat Jean-François Parot.
(Several titles are available in English.) As police commissioner Nicolas Le
Floch works to solves crimes in 18th-century Paris, author Parot expands the plot
with descriptions of the era's culture, political intrigues and haute cuisine.
The Greater Journey, by David McCullough.
Before I turn away from Paris, I want to read McCullough's book about the city
in the 1800s, and about the many Americans of that era--James Fennimore Cooper,
Mary Cassatt, Oliver Wendell Holmes--who went to France in their youth and then
on to acclaim in art, medicine or politics.
Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries, by Helen Vendler. I read
Brenda Wineapple's book White Heat last year, and am interested in
dipping into Emily Dickinson's poems with Vendler as my guide.
Hundred Names for Love, by Diane Ackerman. Out of respect for Ackerman the
naturalist/writer (The Whale by Moonlight), I hope to try this more
personal story. Ackerman's husband, author Paul West, was accustomed to
communicating with an unusually rich, playful and sophisticated vocabulary
until he had a stroke. Ackerman describes the stroke's devastation and the
challenge and adventure of communicating with each other post-stroke.