Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Six of 21: a recap

I read 21 books in July and August. None was the dregs because if a book is wretched, politically or artistically, I stop reading. I also stop if a book is not wretched but isn't my cup of tea stylistically. Or if it isn't wretched and ought to be my cup of tea stylistically yet somehow doesn't draw me in. This means that all 21 were good or very good and kept me reading till the end. Even so, the truth is that I don't remember most of them. Perhaps this is an unavoidable result of reading so many books. Perhaps they'll always blur into one another. Perhaps there's such a thing as reading too much.

Oh come on now, don't be silly. There's no such thing as reading too much, except of course as it carves away time from everything else you ought to be doing, like writing your own masterpiece that will never blur into another in any reader's memory. No, I didn't read too many books. It's simply that some stand out. Some you want to shout about and press into everybody's hands. The others were fine, but the standouts are the ones I'm still thinking about.

I'm pretty sure I've already posted some sort of note about each, but I want to call these six remarkable books back onstage for another bow. These are the books that lit up my summer.

Alphabetically by title:

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
Briefing for a Descent into Hell by Doris Lessing
Carpentaria by Alexis Wright
In the Kitchen by Monica Ali
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
Like Trees, Walking by Ravi Howard