Although I don’t have summers off, my day-job’s office tends to slow during those months, and I often find myself allowed to leave early a few days a week. Coming home at 2:30 on a summer afternoon, changing into shorts and a tee shirt, and spending several hours reading alone on the deck is what I look forward to throughout the gray winter months. God forbid I have too much unstructured leisure time, however. Therefore, I always have a summer reading list (I’m the ultimate task-master list-maker). Like any good 10th grader, my summer reading list is comprised of classic-classics, contemporary classics, and current best sellers. Often these lists are thematically-based (again, I’m tightly wound), and thus a good portion of my spring is spent figuring out the books I want to read and in what order I should attack them.
This summer, I will be reading:
- Persuasion, Jane Austen
- Divergent series, Veronica Roth
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
- Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
- Contemporary Italian Women Poets, a Bilingual Anthology, ed. Lara Trubowitz
- The Lone Pilgrim, Laurie Colwin
- History, Elsa Morante
- How Should a Person Be?, Sheila Heti
- The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker, Janet Groth
- Just Kids, Patti Smith
- A couple Agatha Christie books (titles TBD, but will be pulled from the dozen or so sitting in our beach house’s moldy-smelling bookcase and read between naps and games of gin rummy)
- On Beauty, Zadie Smith
Obviously I am calling this list “L’étécriture Féminine”.
What should I add to my list? What do you love to read in the summer? How do you organize your summer reading (do you even? are you as obnoixious as me?)? I love lists, so send me yours!
Today’s edition of “What Grovers are Reading” has us chatting with Clare, from Team Fiction.
I’m currently about 1/5 into the final book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I started reading this series last June on my four day drive to Portland from Texas, and only started reading after much nagging from my partner; I’m glad I listened.
The journey Roland takes, encountering people from our world (and other worlds) and shaping them by the pure power of his resolve, has me enthralled. The characters, the imagery, the imagination of connected universes balancing on beams that are threatened by an evil, bleeding king: this seven book epic has influenced me from my art, to my interactions with people. Rolands’ world is unlike any I’ve encountered, including Westeros and Middle Earth, because it behaves irrationally. As they say, the world has moved on. The series has been fun, entertaining, compelling, but not yet brought me to tears (I fear it will happen soon).
I’m excited to finish the book but simultaneously disappointed because then it will have concluded, for better or worse.
Have you, like Clare, had a series’ whose conclusion you’ve both longed and dreaded to reach? Did you remedy the problem of finishing a series by immediately starting back at book one?
The Grove Review is currently accepting fiction, poetry, and art for our upcoming issue. Please review our submission requirements here. Thank you for supporting The Grove by entrusting us with your ceaselessly inspiring, continually impressive work.
Our hearty thanks and best wishes,
Our trusty Art Editor, Sarah, reveals what she’s been reading lately:
What I’ve been reading (does it even matter because I’m art editor? Do I even read? Who even knows.):
I’ve been working through the Richard Brautigan collection that has In Watermelon Sugar and Trout Fishing in America. I say working through, but it isn’t really work at all; reading these has been the most delightful kind of non-work there is. If you sometimes feel downtrodden and blase, perhaps just in general cranky and reluctant, you obviously need to start reading more Brautigan. Here are some reasons why:
“One morning in August I went over to his house. He was still in bed. He looked up at me from underneath a tattered revolution of blankets. He had never slept under a sheet in his life.”
“I could tell it was her even before she was there because I heard her step on that board that she always steps on, and it pleased me and made my stomach tingle like a bell set ajar.”
“Unit 4 had a big wooden table with benches attached to it like a pair of those old Benjamin Franklin glasses, the ones with those funny square lenses. I sat down on the left lens, facing the sawtooth mountains. Like astigmatism, I made myself at home.”
And last but not least, and maybe my favorite:
“There are trout that die of old age and their white beards flow to the sea.”
Sarah, thank you for your reading suggestion!
Team Fiction member Desirhea is our next Grover to reveal what she’s been reading lately
I just finished reading Chelsea Cain’s Heart Sick, recommended to me by my cousin. The novel is a classic murder-mystery—a whodunit: was it the suave janitor, or maybe the oh-so-hated, hard ass of a teacher? We start off with two dead girls and one that has just gone missing. The head detective is still coping with the drop-dead gorgeous woman who kidnapped and tortured him underneath her house in NW Portland. And if that wasn’t quite enough to draw you in, it is set in Portland. Chelsea Cain, who lives in Portland herself, draws up images of our tiny China Town, Broadway traffic, the Heathman Hotel, and Sauvie Island. The novel was difficult to put down and I am looking forward to reading the next four in the series
What have you been reading in these first days of spring? Leave us a book recommendation in the comments!
The Grove Review encourages you to attend the book launch of Oregon’s poet laureate, Paulann Petersen. On Monday, April 29th at 7:30pm, join Paulann at Powell’s City of Books to celebrate her latest book of poetry, Understory.
As with a forest’s understory—the level of vegetation growing under its canopy—these poems bear the shadows of a darker realm. Informed by myth and archetype, Paulann Petersen’s work grows close to the earth, frequently delving into the chthonic. Occasioned by a wide geography and characterized by a large embrace, Petersen’s work celebrates both the singular and the quotidian, both the sidereal and the earth-bound—including poems for her furrier grandfather, for a revered poet’s first spoken word, for Hinduism’s sensuality, for a star-map painted on deer hide. Here a reader encounters a voice steeped in the music of the English language, a voice intent on the musical possibilities of poetry’s open and nonce forms. In these pages, a reader finds a voice indebted to the power of metaphor—the capacity of metaphor to transform both language itself and the way we humans see this world. Understory is the sixth full-length collection of poems from Petersen, who is Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate
The Grove is thrilled for Paulann and cannot wait to help her celebrate her achievement! We hope to see you on the 29th!
As promised, TGR’s staff will be updating you on our reading habits over the next few weeks. Below is what Team Fiction member Garrett has been flipping through lately:
I’ve been reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, and I might be going insane. Those familiar with the text will understand how the uncongenial layout and story-within-a-story narrative might cause some cognitive dissonance; to the uninitiated, House of Leaves is a story about a man piecing together the remnants of a book left by a dead neighbor (a book about a movie that doesn’t exist) and his slow descent into madness. I find the use of footnotes and unusual formatting to be intoxicating, often mirroring the emotional states of characters as they explore non-Euclidian landscapes. Shadows stalk and monsters lurk, but nothing works against the characters but their own psychoses. I’m eager to finish off this imposing monster of a text so I can go back and read it again.
Have any of you survived a reading of House of Leaves? What were your experiences while reading this unsettling text?
We encourage you to attend the following events, hosted by Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen:
Saturday, April 20th, Beaverton Library. A workshop designed to generate new poems will start at 1pm and go till 3pm, followed by a 3:30 to 4:30 reading. Registration is required and limited to 36 participants. Please call 503-526-2577 to register and for more information.
Saturday, May 25th, Tigard Library, 1 to 5 pm. Paulann will lead a workshop designed to generate new poems. Because of limited space, registration is required and will begin Wednesday, May 1. Call 503-718-2517.
Saturday, June 1st, Belmont Library, Portland, 1 to 4:30 pm. Paulann will lead a workshop designed to generate new poems. To register, please contact Matthew Yake, Administrator at the Belmont Library. email@example.com (503) 988-5382 Interested participants can register online (https://multcolib.org/events/downstream-writing-current/10071), in person at any library, or by calling the Information Line: (503) 988-5234. Registration for this June 1st workshop opens on May 11.
Be it official Grove submissions or old paperbacks from the Multnomah County Library, us Grovers love to read. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting updates on what we’re enjoying in our reading lives outside The Grove Review office. First up, our fearless leader: managing editor, Krissy.
I am currently immersed in Sir E.H. Gombrich’s “The Story of Art”. I must admit, I have read it before, but I simply can’t get enough of this comprehensive history of western art. Although originally designed as an introductory text into the subject, this book communicates to novice and experienced art critics the world over. Gombrich’s voice is informative and enthusiastic, and the reader can’t help but understand his passion and appreciate his authority. It reads chronologically and much like a collegiate text book, but Gombrich makes these academic themes accessible and entertaining. It’s a guarantee that as soon as I complete this read through, I will begin again.
And what are you, dear readers, thumbing through lately? Post what you’re reading in our comments section
Our gratitude to the voices calling for equality and understanding in our world
Happy International Women’s Day 2013