In Which We Have The Page Turners for the Plebes
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 9:29AM
Alex in BOOKS, alex carnevale, joe haldeman, martin amis, summer reading

You can find Andrew Zornoza's summer reading list here.

Summer Reading


Summer is a time for reading. We used to have a game at our library (with useful prizes) for books completed. I am sure I bested everyone, but reading, like the acquisition of all knowledge is its own reward. To find that first explicit sex scene, to tell of Dumbledore's death, to make the round hole in your heart full with Robert Heinlein.

These days my friends tell me of what they are reading. I am always cringing! If you like to read, read it all. If you do it grudgingly, consign yourself to only the best. Stick with the classics — the real classics, not what gives Harold Bloom bloomies. Find something readable and rewarding and forget the rest. A real page turner.

Heinlein's most ragtag fun adventure. Great for engineering majors; lovers of robots and cats. It begins in the dark recesses of a bar, it ends someplace a lot more fun. The greatest revenge fantasy ever written, you will literally be cheering so loudly that they'll hear you in cold sleep. Why would you want to read anything better than this?

If you can't get the good Heinlein, settle for an inspired imitator. Awesome scale, moving feeling for the victims of interplanetary war. Here's Scalzi: build a real universe, with some of the vagaries of our own. Put everything on the line. Pack with bludgeoning sense of humor and moral responsibility. Enjoy on the beach or with cocktails.

Since girls don't usually like spaceships (I sympathize, they're so damned big), there's something for everyone. If you can't read this book in an afternoon, consider retiring to Florida.

John Irving's had his moments. Hell, he's had more than a few moments. Despite being a major dickhead, he can really write and his family histories are extremely engrossing. For tears and such there's Garp but Hotel New Hampshire is best for really weeping and has a million endings, each better than the last. It made it to the movies, but it could never really be a movie — it was too wild and wonderful.

There are lots of great multiple narrators novels (Joe Haldeman's Seasons, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying) but this is my favorite, American Psycho before there was an American Psycho. (Have you read American Psycho? It's brilliant.) Yet Bret Easton Ellis weeps his Lunar Park dream about being a fad and Amis just releases quality novel after quality novel. He's a very funny man.

His father had the more perverse sense of humor.

Morgan decided to write a fantasy novel. He'd never written one before. So he wrote a combination steampunk/Guy Gavriel Kay/Future Earth missile of a fantasy novel. It's a bit thick in places, but the mythology is just breathtaking and there's a sequel coming.

The greatest Canadian novelist ever, Kay's imaginativeness knows no bounds. If this guy was in a supermarket, he'd probably be high on acid and praying to the Budweiser display. This is the first book of a fantasy trilogy that makes The Lord of the Rings look like Spongebob Squarepants. That's not really a putdown but do I have your attention. Six Canadian college students get transported to Fionovar, first of all worlds. I love multi-world fantasy with sex and boners and Princes and insane mage battles. I could bathe in The Fionovar Tapestry, I really would.

If you're going to rip somebody off, go straight to the top. Ishiguro took Kafka's measure and turned out a long book that could be 50 pages for what it feels like. Deeply moving, strange and wonderful, it holds your attention like an exciting dream, and although I can't remember any sex in it, that's OK this time.

A collection of all his short stories with generous introductions for each, GRRM got a profile for his Game of Thrones series but he's also an extremely versatile genre-hopper with a devious mind for the unexpected.

His stand-alone novel with Lisa Tuttle is the perfect beach read. A spaceship lands in a ocean-dominated world. To get from island to island, they refashion the materials from the craft into wings handed down through families that allow passage around their strange but vibrant little world. One girl changes all that.


I couldn't put it better myself.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

"Dismantle" - Collarbones (mp3)

"Weatherman" - Collarbones (mp3)

"Voltaire" - Collarbones (mp3)

Also, do not read Donna Tartt's The Little Friend. I warned you.

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