I have to tell you, it’s tough getting to the keyboard on Tuesdays. I’ve got about 2 and a half weeks until my book goes to the publishers for the first round of edits (the first time my editor will see my book–yikes!) and I am trying to get work done on it, but my baby needs SO MUCH TIME, y’all? (Who’d have guessed, right? Babies take up time?) I am enjoying every moment with Bear, but I can’t work at 100% capacity and parent him at 100% capacity. Something has to give, and I feel like I’m just not doing ANYTHING very well. (I know, Chorus of Moms: Welcome to Motherhood! We TOLD you it would be like this!!) I’m not sad or disappointed–I did know it would be like this. I’m just trying to adjust my estimates of how long things will take and how focused I can be. So that’s a new thing. It’s hard, because I am used to being very efficient, and now I move super slowly doing everything. Cooking dinner takes longer, a “quick trip” to CVS takes longer, getting through work emails takes longer! But let me tell you, my kid is cute. Like way, way cute. It’s been so incredible getting to know his personality and watching him smile for the first time! He’s a very smiley, happy baby. I never thought that I could be this exhausted and behind while being so amazingly happy.
Ah yes, the title of this post. Summer reading. One thing I miss (probably the only thing, if I’m honest, besides my skinny jeans) from my pre-baby life is reading. I still read a lot now, but it’s more Confident Baby Care: Secrets from Super Nanny and The Foot Book. Reading is a huge part of who I am–it’s why I became a writer. I need books in my life, to inspire me to write better and love better and BE better. So, I am going to challenge myself to a “summer reading” program–like the ones we used to do in elementary school. But how? What shall I read? AND WHO WILL GIVE ME STICKERS AND COUPONS FOR PIZZA HUT?
New York Public Library has an adult program here, which has some books I’ve been wanting to check out, but I know I can’t get through them all. I think I can read about 1 book a month (1/4 of my usual speed…le sigh). So we’re talking 3 books (June, July, August). I feel like I should pick books from one of those challenge lists, like this one, despite the fact they misspelled “criteria” in the description. Does anyone have any ideas?
Maybe just three Pulitzer winners I haven’t read yet? There are so many I’d like to try. I have a crazy dream of reading every Pulitzer winner since 1985 (the year I was born). Or clean out some author’s entire catalog so I can say “I’ve read every book written by Michael Chabon” (for example)? The mind boggles at the choices.
Right now, I’m thinking of:
- A book based on a fairy tale
- A National Book Award winner/finalist
- A YA bestseller
These are the first three book suggestions from the Popsugar challenge list linked above. Options for these include:
A) Sleeping in Flame, Jonathan Carroll. Supposed to be a re-write of Rumplestiltskin featuring a writer. It’s also supposed to be very weird. I’ve heard good things about this author.
B) Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. A Snow-White inspired tale that explores race and skin color politics. And it’s written by a woman of color! I’m in.
A) A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. This book is “an epic about love and friendship in the 21st century” about four friends who move to NYC in their twenties and how they grow together and apart. I have been warned that there’s some seriously heavy and upsetting stuff in here, but also told it was really really awesome. I feel like this is maybe a “wreck you in a good way” book, like Louise Erditch’s The Round House ? Not sure if I’m up for that, but thinking about it…
B) Charming Billy by Alice McDermott. It’s about a tight-knit Irish community in New York and love lost, according to the National Book Award website. I’m a sucker for books involving Ireland or Irish people and this sounds like a good one.
A) More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera. An “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” for the YA set, a debut novel that’s getting awesome reviews. Featuring a gay protagonist, so of course I’m so there.
B) Bone Gap, Laura Ruby. This has been recommended to me several times, although nobody can really summarize what it’s about. People get a gleam in their eyes when they talk about it, that gleam that says “just read it, then you’ll know.” Plus, there’s a bee on the cover? And I love bees.
These titles were chosen during a very haphazard google session of lists of “best YA”, “best adult fairy tales”, and “National Book Award winners and finalists”. So the list is far from definitive, to say the least.
Dear readers, I’m calling on YOU!! What should I read this summer? Do you have a suggestion not on my list? Would you like to read along and have a virtual book club (I can provide the stickers!!)? Let me know! I need some interaction with the world aka You. Because my Bear is brilliant, but he cannot yet speak English at the tender age of 11 weeks. So let me know what I should be reading, and if YOU want to read too!
Stay safe out there and be good to each other.