Summer Reading Stack 2012

Summer is here! A new grill sits proudly in the driveway awaiting her next full belly of charcoal, the window AC unit is chugging along full blast and the yard dances with firefly promenades every evening. There’s nothing but flip flops by the door and the cats look for opportunities to escape to the exotic land of birds, squirrels and other small critters. So if all that is happening, then it is once again time for the Summer Reading Stack!  Wooo Hooo!

Actually this is the short stack. I didn’t want to take the time to drag together all the books I’ve got in piles for the upcoming few months, so here’s the ‘best of’ list.

Currently, I am about knee deep in the first of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin, Game of Thrones.  It is awesome and I’m a little obsessed. Of course, this is not an uncommon occurrence for either me or for readers of this series.  It is quite good and since this is perhaps my favorite genre, I feel quite at home with this story. The book is in such poor shape, I was almost ashamed to put it at the top of the pile for everyone to see! I accidentally got it soaking wet. But it’s so good, the ruffled pages only add to its charm.

Also, while we’re in the lands of the Starks, Lannisters, Tullys and others, I’ve also got The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook on the stack. Recently I have discovered that there is, in fact, an Official Game of Thrones Cookbook. I’m certain it’s cool as well. I’ll be steering clear of the blood sausage, thank you very much, but there are some quite delicious sounding meals in there I’m looking forward to trying.

Next is City of Thieves by David Benioff.  (Not to be confused with City of Thieves by Cyrus Moore. Probably a fine book, but not really my speed.) It’s set in WWII Natzi besieged Leningrad (which is, by the way, entirely more my speed) and though I’ve only covered the first chapter or so, it’s really good. Reads sort of like a memoir in a way. Came highly recommended from one of my most trusted book sources, so it promises to be great. Also  the author wrote the screenplays for the movies Brothers and X-Men Origins: Wolverine which are fine marks in his favor.

Three books in the stack are loaners. The Grizzly Years by Doug Peacock, and Crossing Open Ground by Barry Lopez are both environmental books that look great. Spunk by Zora Neal Hurston is a collection of her short stories. Since Hurston is the author of one of my life long favorite books, I’m looking forward to that one.

Then there is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I’ve started and put down this book twice, but it’s not the fault of the book. Met the author and she seemed really great so I am looking forward to reading her book and this time I will read beyond the first chapter!

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell. Woodrell has written several books, one of the latest is Outlaw Album, but he is probably best known for Winter’s Bone.

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith. He wrote Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and at least one other preternaturally revisioned classic.  This one is about the three kings in the Christmas (or, if you will pardon the liturgical perfectionist in me, the Epiphany) story…. with a twist.

China Mieville’s latest, Railsea, was an ARC sent to me by the publisher and so far I’ve been negligent in reading the Man With the Big Words.  Mieville’s massive and artfully used vocabulary is always a refreshing challenge, but one I must be prepared for with dictionary in hand so it may be at the end of the summer before I get to him. In the mean time let me just say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious antidisestablishmentarianism! Take that Mieville!

On the bottom of the pile is Ron Rash’s The Cove. Clearly, this is an indication that the stack is in no particular order! When it was first released, I got about half way through with this but had to take a break. I’d just read Land More Kind Than Home and re read Serena and I suddenly found myself overfull of this part of the state and had to break for a bit. It is, of course, a beautiful, rich, deep and dark story compellingly written so I long to return to it soon.

So, there it is. The short stack.

Prepare yourself, O mighty grill full of charcoal! Chug on, window AC! The Summer awaits!

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