Welcome to our Summer Reads 2011 blog series! Throughout the months of July and August, we will be featuring recommended reading lists submitted by Lantern Review contributors who want to share books they plan to read this summer and titles they want to suggest to the wider LR community. This week features a two sets of reads from LR Issue 2 contributors W. Todd Kaneko and JoAnn Balingit.
This is the first summer in a while that I will not be attempting to finish Infinite Jest. I always try but then give up (at about page 200) when the huge time commitment gets in the way of my work. So instead, I just finished How They Were Found by Matt Bell and have started Once the Shore by Paul Yoon. On deck after that are Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Queen of the Ring by Jeff Leen, and Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting. Also, my partner Caitlin Horrocks has a brand new book out, This is Is Not Your City—I’ve read the stories, but it’s exciting to re-experience them in the book.
My poetry reading list is too long and cluttered to convey in full, but I recently read and was transfixed by Ignatz by Monica Youn and If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting by Anna Journey. At the moment, I’m kind of mesmerized with Ardor by Karen An-hwei Lee. Up next are What the Right Hand Knows by Tom Healy, A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood by Allen Braden, Archicembalo by G.C. Waldrep, The Haunted House by Marisa Crawford, Delivered by Sarah Gambito, Spit by Esther Lee, and Before I Came Home Naked by Christina Olson.
I am also planning to play Fallout: New Vegas wherever I can fit it in.
And from JoAnn:
Here are some of the books scattered across my study for Summer 2011 reading:
Practical Water by Brenda Hillman, because these poems help me think about and deal with the assaults on the Gulf Coast waters and ecosystems that I grew up in, and love.
Across State Lines: An American Renga, ed. Carol Muske-Dukes and Ed Holman (a poem by 54 U.S. poets begun as part of the America: Now and Here project), because I too believe that poetry can forge stronger communities by entering “its place in the national dialogue.”
Lit by Mary Karr, because I can read this one on the beach and laugh and cringe.
Reality Hunger by David Shields, because it offers me audacious, intelligent and hilarious ways to think about my displeasure with novels and my hunger for non-fiction and poetry, as well as the contract I offer my readers when I write.
Many piles of little magazines I picked up at AWP: e.g.: Tuesday: An Art Project; Pank; Bateau
W.S.Merwin’s The Shadow of Sirius because his poems are beautiful and meditative.
Nigh-no-place by Jen Hadfield, a poet getting great reviews. I bought this book because I want to hear her take on her trans-oceanic heritage, and learn about the Shetland Isles and Canadian ice – fishing.
Continuum by Nina Cassian, because I need poems of a wise-woman.
Come on All You Ghosts by Matthew Zapruder, because I need poems of a wise ass.
What is the What by Dave Eggers, to learn about Sudan, Valentino, and feed my reality-hunger.
The Best American Essays 2010, ed. Christopher Hitchens, because reading great essays sustains me in my practice. I put this collection on my list because everyone needs to read John Edgar Wideman’s “Fatheralong, ” a frank and powerful piece on the background of Emmett Till’s murder, and “the myth of separate races” in this country.
Thanks for the wonderful reads, and for your contributions to Lantern Review, Issue 2: “Northwest Poem” by W. Todd Kaneko, and the poems “Winter Pond, with Armando” and “The Great Tree” by JoAnn Balingit.