01 June 2007

Summer reading inspiration?

One of my fellow participants in the Summer Reading Challenge is tackling WAR AND PEACE this year. What a slog! I read it about four years ago and, unfortunately, retain very little except the Major Spoiler-y Events (as pretentious as it sounds, I liked ANNA KARENINA much better). Anyway, it turns out that Daniel Handler (of LEMONY SNICKET fame) is also a fan of the Big Summer Book, as he reveals in an interview with The Onion A.V. Club in the San Francisco edition (and posted on editor Tasha Robinson's blog):
I always read a big book every summer — I’m going to read The Aeneid this summer, so I’m excited about that. I don’t know why I chose it. Last year was War And Peace and the year before that was The New Testament, and the year before that was Don Quixote. It’s a nice, sort of braggy thing to carry with you all over the summer. My wife prefers short books, but I like one big book because I’ve always found the idea of summer reading to be kind of wacky, that when summertime comes there are all these articles that suggest really lightweight books for the summertime. It implies that for the rest of the year you’re reading all this super-intense stuff, which I just don’t think is really that common. I don’t think there are a lot of people who are like, “Thank God summer’s here. I’ve been reading Henry James all year long, and now I’m ready for a thriller.” Summer reading should be more challenging. And I think if you read a long book, then you begin to feel that your summer is mimicking that long book, and that’s pretty powerful. If you have a Moby Dick summer, that’s great. And The Aeneid is sort of an Odyssey-like story, so I hope that will shape my summer. Last summer I read War And Peace, and my summer was definitely full of high points and low points, so that was good.
Why save the fluff reading for summer, eh?

I've never read any of the Lemony Snicket series (although their new cover design, as seen above, rocks my socks) but I do recommend Handler's novel for adults THE BASIC EIGHT. It's not a big book, but if you like murder mysteries, books based around diary entries and high school intrigue amongst girls, you will like it.


Marjorie said...

I love the comment about reading Henry James all winter. If only!

Camplin said...

I hope to be reading this soon. I enjoyed the Lemony Snicket movie credits.