Reading this summer: Faulkner, Murakami, Chabon, Cleave…

So the summer began a few weeks ago, but during the June 21 (my birthday) – July now period I have been reading the first twenty pages of books and books. Among them:

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy
White Teeth by Zadie Smith

They are all on the final summer list, though I suspect I’ll be taking some liberality with the designation “Summer” when it comes to Pynchon’s book. Like maybe next summer…

I have read two works since planning this post (since Wednesday… what day is it now?):

Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac and
The Model World and Other Stories by Michael Chabon

And now, the plan:

Franz Kafka’s complete story collection
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Vladimir Nabokov’s complete story collection
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
Tinkers by Paul Harding
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

And, of course, the four mentioned above.

I’ve solicited suggestions and am open to more. Have a lovely summer reading, all, no matter what you choose. Here are the books I currently have. I must have left Duffy’s collection at work…

10 Superb Book First Lines

In no particular order. (Oh, and I cheated on the first one – it’s two sentences…)

-o- “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1966)

-o- “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler.”
Italo Calvino, If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler (1979)

-o- “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1887, trans. by Constance Garrett)

-o- “124 was spiteful.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

-o- “When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis (1915, trans. by Stanley Corngold)

-o- “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

-o- “This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”
William Goldman, The Princess Bride (1973)

-o- “‘To be born again,’ sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die.'”
Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)

-o- “All children, except one, grow up.”
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1904)

-o- “In the last quarter of the twentieth century, at a time when Western civilization was declining too rapidly for comfort and yet too slowly to be very exciting, much of the world sat on the edge of an increasingly expensive theater seat, waiting–with various combinations of dread, hope and ennui–for something momentous to occur.”
Tom Robbins,  Still Life with Woodpecker (1980)

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