Summer Reading – What say you?

I have to admit, I don’t read very much.

That isn’t true. I read so much (primary science literature) that I no longer want to read when I don’t have to. Seven years ago, university attached itself to the mental teat responsible for feeding my curiosity of fictional literature. Six years later, that teat dried, withered and was no longer able to rear interest in creative writing beyond crass online comics and bizarre news stories of two headed goats and such things. Instead, I was steeped in non-fiction. Last summer, I had dedicated a few months of bus-time reading to the +1000 page epic armchair history book “Ideas” by Peter Watson.

However, I was determined to change all that. Halfway through Ideas, I shelfed it and decided to read 52 classic novels in 52 weeks. I compiled a list from a number of “Top 100” lists put together by various publishing companies. I started out great – two books in two weeks:

  • Camus’ The Stranger
  • Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea

Both are relatively short, but I thought, “C’mon champ – get in there, bob around, lure him in to the ropes and smoke him with a solid kick to the groin” (i.e. I would start out easy and work my way up). I then began All the King’s Men by Robert Warren Penn at the end of August. It was a great book – well, what I finished of it was great because it’s bloody long. Two weeks passed and I was only half way done. September arrived, and with it came classes, TAing, and research. That was it: Willie Stark and Jack Burden were put to shelf as well, as was the rest of my list.

Now, I think it would be silly to make a similar resolution for this summer, but I’m an ambitious reader and I am determined to right my mistakes. However, perhaps my mistake was in the list itself. I wasn’t interested in many of these modern classics and couldn’t find myself able to relate to their stories.

So, dear reader, I ask you to help me with my summer reading – apply Vaseline to my mental teat, and pump its juicy sustenance into my head (i.e. please list a few modernish books that you highly recommend)!

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Dave Semeniuk spends hours locked up in his office, thinking about the role the oceans play in controlling global climate, and unique ways of studying it. He'd also like to shamelessly plug his art practice: