Summer Reading Inspiration

Digging through some totes in my living room, I found this archival evidence of my early obsession with books.

Library reading certificate, 1976.

During America’s Bicentennial year of 1976, my mother had enrolled me in a summer reading program at Jervis Public Library in my hometown of Rome, New York. The librarian had divided the group into two teams—the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees—and we competed against each other for the most books read over the course of the summer. I can’t remember which side I was on, but the librarian was prescient, because Cincinnati would meet New York in the World Series later that year, with the Reds sweeping the Yankees to win the title.

I wish I had a list of the eighteen books I had read during the summer of ’76, as I would like to revisit some of them now.

As for this summer’s reading list, I am starting off with these selections.

The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found, a memoir by Frank Bruni.

Frank Bruni book cover.

Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems, published by Library of America, and The Closers by Michael Connelly.

Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems, published by Library of America.


Jumpcuts of Text: Continued

As promised in my last blog post, here are the excerpts from books six through ten that I pulled off the shelves at random recently at Syracuse University’s Bird Library.

Table in Library

Table in Library

Book 6: Saville by David Storey

“I haven’t said he’ll never do it,” Colin said.

Richard had covered his face in his hands: his head was shaken from side to side; he his shoulders shook, some fresh anguish broke from him as his father touched his back.

“Nay, love,” his father said. “It’s not important.”

“It is,” his brother said, his voice buried by his moans.

Storey, David. Saville. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1976. Print.

Editor’s note: I forgot to write down the page number and then was unable to find the passage while skimming through the book.

Book 7: Music of the Mill by Luis J. Rodriguez

“Eventually it wasn’t a fantasy. I often walked home from school, which was hard at first since I got so many stares and whistles, especially from the paisas, the Mexicanos, freshly wet from over the Rio Grande. There were run-down motellike apartments on Florence Avenue that I had to pass by every day. Nothing but newly arrived men lived in them. They worked in local construction and factory jobs. By the afternoon, many of them were hanging out, already drinking beer, with the shirts off, wearing Mexican vaquero hats, a type of cowboy hat. They always yelled and whistled at me.”

Rodriguez, Luis J. Music of the Mill. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005. 216. Print.

Book 8: These Are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women. Edited by Marjorie Agosin.

From the poem Rosa/Fili by Maria Arrillaga:


“He did not leave
You left, Rosa, Rosario, Rosina, Rosaura/Fili
Your name grows
In that new path
Furrows flee your face
Your features are refined
In the contour of precise strokes
Calm you are
The towering heights of the past
Become the happy landscape
Of your big waist
Your hair undulates defying
He who will appreciate your body
You are intelligent, Fili
You have your life
You have yourself
It’s no small thing.”

Agosin, Marjorie. These Are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women. Fredonia, New York: White Pine Press, 1994. 194. Print.

Book 9: The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati

“One September morning, Giovanni Drogo, being newly commissioned, set out from the city for Fort Bastiani; it was his first posting.

He had himself called while it was still dark and for the first time put on his lieutenant’s uniform. When he had done, he looked at himself in the mirror by the light of an oil lamp but failed to find there the expected joy. There was a great silence in the house but from a neighbouring room low voices could be heard; his mother was rising to bid him farewell.

This was the day he had looked forward to for years—the beginning of his real life.”

Buzzati, Dino. The Tartar Steppe. New York: Carcanet Press, 1987. 1. Print.

Book 10: Strindberg: A Life by Sue Prideaux

“When they had left for France, Siri was pregnant again. She knew when they reached their destination she could not hope for a career on the French stage. They stood on the platform, smartly dressed as always, with their children, their nanny Eva, their trunks and cases of books and the blue and white pram with its milk-stained top. Siri’s career as an actress, apart from her creation of the role of Miss Julie in Denmark in 1888, was over.”

Prideaux, Sue. Strindberg: A Life. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012. 104. Print.

Books on Table

Books on Table