Power List: What We’re Reading This Summer

Melissa’s reading: A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

For once I’m not reading YA or Fantasy!  I’m not quite done with the book yet and it’s sort of taken a weirdly dark turn, but A Handful of Dust – about an adorable but flawed married couple – is as usual with Evelyn Waugh, a very clever, funny, and modern take on relationships.  At one point their son calls the nanny a “silly old tart,” not knowing what it means, and when the nanny brings it to the attention of the boy’s mother Brenda, it is all taken very seriously.  Later on, behind closed doors, Brenda tells her husband and they have serious lulz thinking of their little boy dancing around yelling that at the nanny, even though they know it’s horrible.  Basically, I felt like even though they were rich folks in 1930s Britain, I could relate.  It’s funny!  But has a serious side.  Check it out!

Hillary’s reading: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

I’m reading our current book club pick, Salvage the Bones, which is about a pregnant 15-year old and her three brothers living on the rural Mississippi coast in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. It’s a rich and vivid portrayal of a family in dire straits, and I’m particularly loving how Ward portrays the protagonist, Esch, as she navigates her complicated life among men, unrequited love, her unabashed sexuality, and her dismal predicament.  While Ward’s facility with imagery is one of the highlights of the book, I sort of wish she’d been a little more judicious with the metaphors? That might be just me. I’m definitely loving the read.

p.s.: Shout out to our radical book club that has been going steadily since 2006, the I’m Going to Read the Shit Out of this Book Club or IGTRTSOOTBC for short.  Yay!

Tammy’s reading: Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

I’m reading…. wait for it… Dangerous Liaisons.  I’d like to say that I was inspired by our ladies’ movie night, but it’s part of my master’s exam list.  Awesome book, and if you don’t feel like reading it, Dangerous Liaisons with Glenn Close is very true to the original.

Nicole’s reading: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Combining sobering subject matter (a suburban couple in the ’50s trying their best not to conform and being, shall we say, unsuccessful in the end) and a writing style that’s beautiful in its simplicity, this novel simmers throughout, with an ever present threat of boiling over.  Yates said of the novel, “If my work has a theme, I suspect it is a simple one: that most human beings are inescapably alone, and therein lies their tragedy.” So, yay! Fun beach read! But really, an incredible book…and actually, not a bad beach read if you don’t mind having to question all of your ideas of right and wrong while sitting on the beach. (And no, I haven’t yet seen the movie, but I’m now dying to.)

Catch ’em all, Pokemon style, at Amazon: