Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Books I'll Be Reading this Summer

As the mercury begins to persistently hit the high nineties, the Broke and the Bookish inquire: what are your summer reading plans?

1. For starters, I intend to keep reading Bernard Cornwell's Starbuck Chronicles,  his military-adventure novels set in the American Civil War. Although the protagonist is weaker than most of Cornwell's, Starbuck is supported by a lively crew of characters and I have no doubt that he'll grow through the books.

2. The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen just arrived in the post. The subtitle: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Get Better.  I heard it discussed at length on a podcast, though I'm a trifle disappointed in its size: when I received the package in the mail I thought it was my Mills Brothers CD.

3. Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, Laura Shapiro.  Amazon suggested this one to me, and the preview ensnared my interest. Ever since reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan I've found an appetite for books relating to food.

4. Star Trek DTI: Forgotten History, Christopher L. Bennett. Second in Bennett's Department of Temporal Investigations series, the action is set in the original series era and stars that beautiful icon of the franchise, James Kirk's Enterprise.  Also, Star Trek Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night, David R. George III. First in a new trilogy featuring the Federation's new foe, Plagues of Night features a much-longed-for return to Deep Space Nine.

5. The Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability, David Owen.  Part of my on-going reading in urbanism, energy, and transportation.

6. The Seven Wonders, Steven Saylor. Gordianus the Finder returns....as a teenager on the cusp of manhood, on a journey around the world (to Romans, at least) to visit the seven great wonders of antiquity, only one of which stands today.

7. 1493: Discovering the New World Columbus Created, Charles C. Mann. The sequel to his astonishing 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, this one tackles the beginnings of the global marketplace.

8.  The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners that Shape Who We Are Today, Rob Dunn.  We're all hosts to untold numbers of lifeforms...a veritable ecosystem on two legs, as it were.

9. Independence Day reading.  Around the Fourth of July, I like to read something with an appropriate theme. This year I've got Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis in mind.

10. Bastille Day reading.  I also like to have a French-themed reading in the middle of July, but I haven't decided what this year's shall be. Alistair Horne is an option, but his Seven Ages of Paris left me wanting: it was not quite as brilliant as La Belle France had me worked up to anticipate.  Another possibility is Henri Barbusse's Under Fire, a novel of the Great War, supposedly France's All Quiet on the Western Front.  On the other hand, I spent my morning sipping coffee and reading reviews for Bringing up Bébé, an American woman's discovery of parenting in France, which I find oddly fascinating. I suppose it depends on my mood when I go to make my purchases...

These will do for starters, anyway! How about yourself?


  1. A few of these are books I haven't heard of but sound ridiculously good, like the Bernard Cornwall. I will totally read the heck out of any book related to the Civil War.

    Also? The concept behind The Seven Wonders sounds great, like it would be so cool to actually see the Seven Wonders of antiquity.

    Great list!

  2. I kind of love that you plan to read something specifically for Bastille Day.

  3. Something from the oven sounds interesting! I love social history especial post ways US

  4. The Green Metropolis sounds pretty good. Great list!

  5. Enjoyed reading your list. I like to do the same thing around July 4th but I haven't chosen a title yet. Thanks!

  6. The Great Stagnation's subtitle alone makes it worth a look, I think!

  7. Interesting list. I like your plan to read something French-themed around Bastille Day -- I might borrow that idea. Maybe a nice Inspector Maigret mystery -- good for reading at the beach, too.

  8. OMG I love Star Trek! Although I'm more of a watcher and not a reader but the Borg are definitely my favorite villains! Thanks for visiting Elegantly Bound Books :)

    Crystal @ Elegantly Bound Books

  9. I'm playing with my reading ATM. Presently I'm about half way through a batch of novel that were made into movies. After a break of random books I'll move on to books based in the Middle Ages and then a batch of Vampire novels. That should take me into 2013.... [grin]


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