petrossian_fondue.jpg

petrossian_cake.jpg

What I Read This Summer

by Carolyn Foster Segal
Print Email

gonegirlFirst, here’s what I didn’t read: anything that included a vampire or a werewolf. I did read about one ghost—in Anne Tyler’s The Beginner's Goodbye.

Much of my summer reading focused, as usual, on mysteries: I read all three of Gillian Flynn’s novels, starting with this summer’s blockbuster Gone Girl and then working my way through her two earlier ones — Dark Places and the even darker Sharp Objects. Three clever and engaging picks were Joanne Dobson’s academic mystery Cold and Pure and Very Dead, Harry Dolan’s pomo noir tale Bad Things Happen, and Tana French’s Broken Harbor (just as riveting as her other novels).  

I devoted two nights to James Renner’s The Man from Primrose Lane, which veered from noir to sci fi, and made me think longingly of the relatively simpler physics of The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffinegger, a past summer’s selection. It did occur to me that some might find my liking for mysteries obsessive when I realized that I was reading Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters while watching an episode of Inspector Lewis. Mysteries, however, with their murders, trickery, and restoration of order, remain an excellent antidote to articles on education (I read roughly 500 of those).

absalomInspired by John Jeremiah Sullivan’s homage to William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, I returned to the novel itself, another sort of time travel.  I also read Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters (let’s leave the first-person plural narrator to Faulkner), Don DeLillo’s short story collection The Angel Esmeralda (the title story knocks me out every time I read it), Hilary Thayer Hamann’s Anthropology of an American Girl (the Long Island of my youth), Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding (good, although I couldn’t shake the sense that I was reading a book written in the early sixties), Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife (excellent), Jeanette Winterson’s memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (excellent), Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems (excellent), 22 back issues of The New Yorker, 7 issues of Vanity Fair, and several months’ worth of the NY Times Style section’s “Modern Love” (excellent and frequently heartbreaking).

Now I’m reading The Great Gatsby (for the class I’m teaching this semester—“The Nature of Narrative”) and Elizabeth George’s new Inspector Lynley novel, Believing the Lie. At 600+ pages, George’s book is so long that it will count for summer and fall reading.

 

Carolyn Foster Segal is an adjunct professor at Muhlenberg College. She frequently writes about higher education.

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

Ubuntu Restaurant
Northern California
by Joseph Erdos

ubuntuamuse.jpgNo man is an island; we are all interconnected by our humanity. That is the philosophy of Ubuntu, a belief rooted in Zulu culture that emphasizes people's allegiances, relationships, community,...

Read more...
In Praise of Waffles and Chapman College
Southern California
by Laraine Newman

bruxieLast Friday I took my daughter Hannah to tour Chapman College located only an hour south of Los Angeles, making it very convenient for her to bring me her laundry should she get in.  Chapman is...

Read more...
Coppa Boston
Boston
by Lisa Dinsmore

coppalogo.jpgThere are people who, when on vacation, go wherever the road takes them. I am not one of them. If I'm going somewhere new and only have a few days to explore a place, I'm going to find the best...

Read more...
One Pico
Los Angeles
by S. Irene Virbila

shutters.jpg Tables lined up along the windows at One Pico offer not only an ocean view, but also a glimpse of Santa Monica's glitzy new Ferris wheel. Its complex computer system dials out the colors,...

Read more...