The best beach read of all time is To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf’s luminous 1927 novel that is about—aptly—a seaside vacation, although admittedly that's a bit like saying Moby Dick is about a fishing trip. This is the most accessible of Woolf's works, yet many people still shy away from it for casual reading, perhaps because the novel is so closely identified with term papers and stuffy lectures and dreary assignments to find and list all the symbols. …Good advice. The Houston Chronicle also has a list of “smart summer books.”
Once a novel is classified as "literature," something awful seems to happen; people start revering it and stop reading it. The book is placed on a high shelf, maybe even tucked inside a glass-fronted cabinet, and there it sits -- admired to death, in effect. If Woolf still had a say in the matter, I think she'd much prefer glimpsing a copy of To the Lighthouse with a smear of suntan lotion on its crinkled cover or with a bug crushed between pages 101 and 102.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Smarter Summer Reading
If Oprah’s book picks aren’t your style, take some summer reading advice from Julia Keller at the Chicago Tribune: