Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Reading

Remember summer reading lists? Ms. Tritten gave me one after my junior year of high school: 100 Books to Read Before College. I took it very seriously. And although they are now my to-read lists, not someone else's, I have one every summer. So I thought I'd take a cue from Danielle and write a wrap-up of a few books I've read so far this season.

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust. This is a great read. It’s a quick and relatively light history of the Civil War and Reconstruction years that doesn’t bombard readers with dates, battles and generals (although there are a lot of numbers). Her interpretation of recent research and findings feels original and makes for a rich cultural history of this time in America. And her writing is neither overly-academic nor too simple and watered-down. If you’re like me and haven’t read much about the Civil War, it’s a great place to start.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert is a lovely and entertaining novel. I had a lot of fun reading this because I didn’t know the details of the plot and had no idea how it would turn out (honestly!). So after the first few chapters I was hooked. Flaubert masterfully (I hear he agonized over every word) made an unlikeable woman and this wretched story easy to sympathize with and fun to read. And speaking of summer reading lists, it may not be on mine but Madame Bovary made someone's top ten.

Native Son by Richard Wright. This is one of those books that I’ve always had and always intended to read, but for one reason or another just never got to. I’d say if you’re in that same boat, read it now! Seriously. Stop reading my sloppy review and go get that dusty paperback off your shelf. And if you have read it, call me. We’ll talk. This book knocked my socks off.