What are you reading?

July 12th, 2010 by Sarah Laleman Ward

It’s summer, and even though you may be taking classes and working on projects, summer is a time for reading those books you don’t get around to during the year. The beach is a great place to read, as are the many parks in NYC. One of my favorite things to do is sit in the shade in Central Park and alternately read, nap and watch people.

If you’re short on inspiration, NPR has put together a long list of summer reading recommendations, as well as several smaller, thematic lists such as Zombies and Giant Squids: Summer’s Monster Hits and Fiction, Long and Short, for Summertime Escapes.

The New York Public Library branches also host ongoing Book Discussion Groups, which can be a fun way to socialize and get some reading in. A quick glance at the reading lists made me want to join in on some of the discussions!

Here’s what I am reading right now (and yes, I tend to have several books going at once so I can choose based on my mood):

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

This is book #3 in the Sookie Stackhouse series, upon which the HBO show True Blood is based. The books are fun, fast to read, and mildly addictive. An excellent summer diversion.

Tupperware Unsealed: Brownie Wise, Earl Tupper and the Home Party Pioneers by Bob Kealing

I actually ordered this book for the collection at Hunter, then checked it out for myself. It deals with several subjects we collect in here: economics, women’s studies, history… Plus, I thought it sounded really interesting. Tupperware is so commonplace these days that it is fascinating to read about how revolutionary it was when Earl Tupper  invented it. Also, Brownie Wise was a wildly successful business woman in the 1950s, a time when most women were homemakers. Her success was based on home sales parties of household items, such as Tupperware.

America Eats! On the Road with the WPA by Pat Willard

I picked this book up at the bookstore in the Smithsonian Museum of American History when I was in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago. The writer found unpublished manuscripts from a Works Progress Administration writer’s project during the Depression. Writers from around the country were sent out to chronicle American food festivals and regional cuisine. I love these kinds of cultural histories and it has been a fun read. It continually makes me hungry and leaves me with the urge to bake apple pies.

A supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again by David Foster Wallace

One of my professors loaned this book of essays to me and I’ve been reading one every now and then. DFW is a native of Central Illinois, as am I, so his account of the 1993 Illinois State Fair holds a special place in my heart.

On deck, I have the book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. I keep hearing about this book on NPR and reading references to it in various magazine and newspaper articles. I figured I ought to read the darn thing myself.

And, lest you think you have to go out and buy new books to read this summer, all of the books I mentioned above are available within CUNY, if not at Hunter, except for The Shallows. That’s a pretty nice deal, right? Tons of free books just waiting for a reader? Remember that you can request books from any other CUNY school via CUNY+, and they will arrive in less than a week. I also requested The Shallows through our InterLibrary Loan system, and it arrived in less than a week as well.

See – you can be well-read, entertained, AND save money. Aren’t libraries the best?

So what are you reading this summer? Anything fun? Interesting? Scary? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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