My course hasn’t finished (not by a long shot) but I’m all done with seminars and reading lists so I’ve been finding quite a bit of time to read what I want lately. I won’t bore you with full individual reviews, but here’s a little rundown of my three latests in case you’re looking for summer beach inspiration!
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls, Anton DiSclafani
The Amazon description of this book says that it’s ideally suited for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep and Liza Klaussman’s Tigers in Red Weather. It just so happens that Prep is way up there in my favourite 3 books ever and I think I already mentioned how much I enjoyed Tigers, so this was top of my list to download for our trip to Croatia. Safe to say, I loved it. It follows 15 year old Thea as she is sent to a remote riding camp in North Carolina right at the beginning of the American Depression and it contains all my favourite ingredients in a book: teenage girls, people with too much money, the American South, a good healthy dose of family scandal, and so on and so on. It’s also a really interesting little glimpse at the Depression and how it began and how it affected or didn’t affect various family fortunes…a read I’d highly recommend!
I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe
This is actually one of my main dissertation texts but I’ve been enjoying re-reading it so much that I felt it deserved a mention. It follows Charlotte Simmons, who is from a tiny town in the Appalachian mountains, through her first term at Ivy League-esque Dupont College, and her various encounters with frat boy Hoyt, basketball star Jojo, boarding-school roommate Beverly, and so on and so on. Maybe it appeals to me because everything about it reminds me so much of William & Mary (there is a fraternity formal scene that is so on point it’s untrue) but it’s one of my very favourite American college-life books ever. Mind you, ask me again how much I like it when I’ve finished analysing the life out of the 700 word thing, and then we’ll see how good it is…
The Universe versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence
Like most of the books I download, I kept seeing this one everywhere and when it showed up cheap on Kindle I went ahead and bought it. It’s quite similar in tone to last summer’s favourite, The Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – actually I’d say it’s like a cross between that and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time: Woods’ protagonist, Alex, is eccentric to say the least but charming nonetheless. It took me a while to read and I wouldn’t call it particularly compelling, so it’s good if you want something you can pick up and read a couple of chapters every now and again, but it did actually get quite emotional at the end!
What have you been reading lately?