Sunday, July 10, 2011

Parade Magazine's Issue on Summer Reading

I opened today's Parade magazine (7/10/11), which comes with my Sunday San Francisco Chronicle, and which focuses this week on "Summer Reading," with both pleasure and trepidation. Anything that promotes books and reading is great, but I was wondering which books it would focus on. I was pleasantly surprised to see many excellent books featured, rather than just the same bestsellers by the same authors that are often considered prime summer reading. (Please don't think I am being condescending, as I am happy to read good "summer novels," as I have posted about before. I was just hoping there would be more of a mix, and there is.) One juxtaposition that is a bit ironic is the full-page illustration to the "2011 Summer Reading Guide" on one page, showing an idyllic green nature scene of a boy leaning against a tree reading -- wait for it -- an E-READER, while on the facing page is a lovely essay by Pat Conroy about his childhood reading at a lake, with an extended mention of the sensory, tactile feel and smells of books (REAL books, the old-fashioned kind!), their pages and covers. Surely no one will wax poetic about the feel and smell of books on an e-reader...will they? Despite being struck by this ironic contrast, I enjoyed the special issue of Parade, with its lists of "great summer books" and great audio books, and its blurbs by various famous people about which books they will be reading on their summer vacations. (Sample answer: Kathryn Stockett, author of "The Help," says that she is reading "Gone with the Wind," because "People ask me all the time what I think about that book, so I've resolved to tackle it." Other samples: actor David Hyde Pierce says that he is reading the diaries of Christopher Isherwood and really enjoying them, and Elizabeth Gilbert is reading Tina Fey's "Bossypants"...a book that is on my list too.)


  1. I just read "Bossypants" and it is hilarious. I literally laughed out loud, all by myself.
    For some reason it tickled me to read that the author of "The Help" is planning to "tackle" "Gone With the Wind." For one thing: really? She grew up where she did and has never read that book? For another: "tackle"? Tackle "War and Peace" maybe...but GWTW? (Which I loved when I read it as a teenager, by the way, but it is truly a "summer read" and not something that requires tackling.)

  2. Thanks for the endorsement of "Bossypants," Mary! This makes me even more eager to read it. And I agree with your comments about the "Help" author "tackling" GWTW...I knew it sounded a bit odd, but you clarified why...Thanks!


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