08 September 2009

Once more unto the beach, dear friends, once more

It is the end of summer as we commonly recognize it in this part of the world, so also the end of this year's summer reading. I did much better than last year, but I still didn't finish the list. (EDGAR SAWTELLE, I am so sorry.) But I did a lot of reading overall, and then there's INFINITE JEST, which is not finished yet.

The last book I read was Richard Yates' COLD SPRING HARBOR, and I've been struggling with what to write about it. I loved REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and expected to flip similarly over this book, but Internet, I did not. Yates' last novel, concerning two families united by marriage on Long Island, felt unfinished in that it set up several conflicts and did nothing with them; the most vivid character is a divorcée who is practically a grotesque and described as "dying for love," but even her storyline does not get any kind of resolution. It was a slice of life, but not a flavorful one. I'll still give more Yates a chance, though; I would like to eventually have read all of his books (including the collection of short stories I bought earlier this year).

Got any great reading memories to share from this summer? I remember a particularly cloudless day along Lake Michigan, watching my sisters nosing through their Chabon and Sittenfeld paperbacks and imprinting galley ink onto the whitest strip of my sunscreen-covered arm.

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