For the last several summers, I’ve selected to return to the work of a favorite writer or two. Last year it was Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist Edith Wharton. I once again read The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), The Custom of the Country (1913), Summer, (1917), The Age of Innocence (1920) which won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for literature, making Wharton the first woman to win the award, Old New York (1924) and The Buccaneers, (1938).
I also returned to the works of Eudora Welty, another Pulitzer prize winning American novelist and writer of short storied. I wrote my undergraduate honor’s thesis on Welty, so it was fun to return to those novels to enjoy rather than analyze them. I read The Robber Bridegroom (1942), Delta Wedding (1946), The Ponder Heart (1954), Losing Battles (1970) and The Optimist’s Daughter (1972). I also read selections from her collections of short stories including A Worn Path (1941), A Curtain of Green (1941), Petrified Man (1941), The Wide Net and Other Stories (1943), and The Golden Apples (1949).
Of course I read lots of mysteries, Timothy Eagn’s first novel, The Winemaker’s Daughter, and various books on Rhetorical Theory, teaching, American History as well. I can’t recall many of the titles at the moment, but I can track them down if any readers are interested.
This summer, since Toni Morrison published a new novel, I decided to return to her work. I usually try to read a writer’s work in chronological order, but since I really wanted to read Morrison’s latest novel, I’ve started with God Help the Child (2015) and Home (2012). I’ll follow those with A Mercy (2008), Love (2003), Paradise (1997), Jazz (1992), Beloved (1987), Tar Baby (198), Song of Solomon (1977), Sula (1973) and The Bluest Eye (1970).
I haven’t decided on a second novelist yet. I choose based on my home library, so I have plenty of time to make a decision. However, as if often the case, I’ve veered off in a different direction for a while. I’ve had Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy–Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant–on my iPad for a while now, so I decided to finally read it. Then I noticed a couple novels I didn’t remember downloading–California-A Novel (2014) and Max Barry‘s Lexicon , so I read them. I then noticed Greg Isles had published a couple new addition to his Penn Cage series, so I went back to The Quiet Game (1999) and Turning Angel (2005) since it had been awhile, and am now reading The Devil’s Punchbowl (2009) which I’d somehow missed. Then I’ll pick up Natchez Burning (2014) and The Bone Tree (2015) while I await publication of Unwritten Laws.
I’ll return to Morrison once I’m through the Penn Cage series. I also have a stack of work related books piled next to my chair, so at some point I’ll turn my attention to those.
Time to read is one of the things I love about summer, and I take advantage of every moment I have.
I have a long list of books I’d like to read if I find the time including Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Citizen, by Claudia Rankine, The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow, NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, and Helon Habila’s Oil on Water to name a few.