Wednesday, June 01, 2016

I am booked for the summer

Last summer was so good that I am getting a head-start this time around.  No, I am not referring to the high 90s that are forecast for this weekend.  Unseasonably warm, no doubt.  For a guy who grew up playing outdoors in the hot summer months of the old country, a thermometer reading that exceeds 75 now has become nightmarish! :(

The head-start that I am referring to is the summer reading list.  It does not matter to me whether or not I got wise after the summer of reading last time around.  I enjoyed it, while this guy, who played those long cricket matches under the intensely blistering sun and who now watches sports only from the comfort of his climate-controlled flat, couldn't wait for that summer to end ;)

Last summer, I didn't put together my list until the end of June.  This time, June is just about to begin, and I have placed my order.

You being a sharp, smart, attentive, and thinking person, immediately noticed something, right?
Yes, female authors.
And, yes, two of those will be in translation.
And, yes, all of them from different parts of the world.
And, yes, they are/were from societies that were going through intense internal struggles.
And, yes, all the three were awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

So, why these books and these authors?

It has always bothered me that while I have not read a great many books, most of what I read were authored by men.  Even the list from last summer: Tolstoy, Nabokov, and Steinbeck.  In the years past too.  I was badly in need of diversity in the form of female authors.  It is not that I have shied away from them; from Jane Austen to Jhumpa Lahiri, I have had my fill of female writers.  But, the scale was clearly tilted.  This summer reading will help straighten the scale--especially when the books are no slim volumes: 496, 560, and 272 pages, respectively.

The settings--the Soviet Union and Belarus, Romania under Ceausescu, and South Africa--will depress me through the 1,300 and more pages.  But, the human condition explored in those will, I am sure, help me understand not only my own existence but even the ongoing crises around the world, including the one that I blogged about yesterday.

There are only two things that I have to decide.  First, when do I get started.  The answer is simple--I don't know.  Second, what will be the order in which I read them?  The answer is simple--I don't know.  Hey, I am already wiser for knowing that I don't know ;)

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