10 Books I Have Been Reading This Summer.

Summer comes as a blessing, It is definitely the season in which I manage to come to terms with my creative side. I write, I read, I watch movies and I try to soak in as much art as possible. Since last June I have read more books than I'd thought I might be able to. Here is a list of ten I have been reading or am currently reading. They are all novels or short stories collections. Indeed I love my poetry, but I tend to read more poetry during the rest of the year!

1) John Claude Smith, Riding the Centipede (Omnium Gatherum, 2015)




Riding the Centipede is John's debut novel. I was curious to read it, as I have always enjoyed his writing. John loves his winding tours into the weird and this is indeed a ride, but I strongly encourage you to give it a spin. Here are some of the ingredients: a private investigator, a Hollywood socialite, a ghost choosing to Ride the Centipede to the ultimate experience, William S. Burroughs, Marylin Monroe, Frida Kahlo's lost painting and a nuclear menace named Rudolf Chernobyl. Get your print copy or Kindle e-book here! <3

2) Elizabeth Kostova, The Swan Thieves




As many of you know, I do love my Art! I bought this novel for a couple of Euros in a used bookstore and fell in love with the story. An artist gone insane painting over and over the same woman and making life hard for his wife and lover. The same artist almost stabbing a painting in an art gallery and stops speaking from then on. A series of old letters the artist owns. And, how a patient psychiatrist manages to understand the "why" in a journey through time and art linking the 19th century to the present times. 

3) Magda Szabo, Iza's Ballad*




This novel has been translated into English from Hungarian by poet George Szirtes and it is set in Hungary in the 60s. Iza, a brilliant doctor, finds herself battling with her old mother once her father dies. The path is not as smooth as she had imagined, particularly when she decides to have her mother relocate with her in Budapest. Family relationships can be so hard at times. Do we always know what is best for the people we love? This novel is harrowing. It will stay with me for a long, long time.

4, 5 & 6) Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Innocent Eréndira and Other Stories*



These tales are wonderful. I loved the surreal elements and the beautiful, charged descriptions: a treasure trove full of magic realism and amazing writing. I have also read Marquez's Of Love and Other Demons again this summer. And, his Memories of My Melancholy Whores for the first time. Can one ever have enough of Marquez? I guess not!

 



7) Ken Follett, World Without End




After having read the over 1,000 pages of The Pillars of the Earth in 3 weeks time, last Christmas, I have avidly devoured its sequel. Follett knows his history well and his extensive research and lively writing make his books so full of life. A superb page-turner!


8) Georgia O'Keeffe, Memorie




A lean book that has left a mark. I have always been a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe's work, but I definitely feel I know her much better now. Reading O'Keeffe's memories, particularly about her love for Alfred Stieglitz and the way she strived to paint in her own amazing, unique way was fascinating.

9) Toni Morrison, A Mercy





It seems ages since I wrote my dissertation on Toni Morrison's first six novels. I can't help reading her novels over and over again. I reread at least one per year. Beloved and The Bluest Eye are perhaps my favorite, but they are so devastating that I find it hard to read them too often. I do skim through their pages often. This year I chose to reread A Mercy, a brief, intense, vision of America's genesis.

10) Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus






I have just started reading this book. It is a joy. The story of Sophie Fevvers, a 19th century virago-like aerialiste born from an an egg and abandoned as a baby in a basket to be raised by the prostitutes of a brothel, painted by Toulouse-Lautrec and admired by many men, is leaving a great impression. Not to mention Angela Carter's dazzling writing. When I grow up, I want to be like her. I mean Angela, not the aerialiste! ;)


* I am unable to add the right accents to these authors' surnames. Consider them there, even if they are not!

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