theavantguardian’s summer reading list

July 19, 2010
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We here at the avant guardian like to read books. Or Kindle files. Or graffiti scrawled on the cinderblock walls of gas station restrooms.  Oh really, that’s what you think of Obama? And thanks for giving me your girlfriend’s phone number–maybe I will give her a call. Does she happen to like French cinema?

Anyway, here’s the first of our three summer lists. Stay tuned for our Summer Playlist and Summer Movie Marathon.

These are, definitively, the books you’ll want to read while you’re in gridlock traffic on your way to an oil-covered beach. Or to a LeBron jersey burning party. Or to lay a bouquet of moonflowers on NASA’s grave.

Awesome by Jack Pendarvis
tyler re: says: “Pyrotechnic funnyman Jack Pendarvis poops out a short-ish novel about a giant named Awesome who goes on an absurd full-throttle quest to recapture his outlandishly glorious human-sized love, Glorious Jones. One of the few books I wish I’d pooped out; full of profane adventure, the buggering of other giants, the removal of genitals, and a robot butler named Jimmy.”

Fup by Jim Dodge
chicken flava says: “True American Northwest spiritual philosophy in the form of a novella about a duck brimming with humanity and soul and the family that loves him. Shout out to duck flava.”

Fishing the Sloe-Black River by Colum McCann
g.a. pantagruel says: “I usually don’t get very excited about short-story books; I pick them up, read a few, put them down, forget where I left them and don’t feel too bad about that… But this book’s craft, beauty, and fascinating strangeness grabbed me almost immediately, by various important organs.”

The Emigrants, by W.G. Sebald
ari gratch says: The Emigrants is a dreamlike trip, through images, anecdotes, and bits of forgotten pasts, that don’t converge so much as they slap you in the face. Read this if you’re sick of people talking about how impossible it is to write expressively but not sappily about tragic pasts. It’s totally possible.”

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
andy reynolds says: “Two dream-like novels told in alternating chapters: In the near future, a man travels through underground caverns, dodging shadowy creatures and noir-esque thugs while carrying valuable data in his subconscious.  In a completely different reality, a man parts with his shadow to gain entrance to a town called End of the World, where he learns to read dreams from the skulls of unicorns while hatching a plan to free both his shadow and himself.”

Wicked Conduct by Rory Raven
kathryn fidler says: “Wicked Conduct is the story of a murder trial in 1830′s Rhode Island. The victim, Sarah Cornell, was four months pregnant; the accused was a Methodist minister with whom she shared a troubled relationship. Local history has never been so much fun!”

Theatre by David Mamet
k.o. from the kteam musik says: “Want some drama? Read this collection of essays by one of America’s most talented playwrights, David Mamet. These articles are not just relevant to directors, writers, and actors. Anyone who has ever marveled at Mamet’s genius in works such as Glengarry Glen Ross or Wag the Dog will be inspired by his lucid philosophical musings on the state of the theater industry today.”

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
carine tarazi says: “This book changed my entire physical and mental life—and not in a ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance changed my life!’ kind of way. If science is not your style, recommend it to anyone you know who has sustained a head injury or stroke, or who has a learning disability.”

Nobody’s Home by Dubravka Ugresic
rachel simhon says: “Nobody’s Home is a collection of essays focused on the effects of exile and dislocation on the human psyche. Each place that Ugresic explores becomes the main character of the story, with an emphasis on the significance of globalization on the boundaries of national identity.”

Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler
paul boshears says: “Dzanc Books (champions of independent literature and a thriving independent publishing community) named Blake in their 20 Writers to Watch, noting that, like the New Yorker’s 20 under 40, Blake is someone whose voice is central to understanding this generation. His novella, Scorch Atlas, is an outstanding read and it’s going to have you asking yourself what you’ve been doing with your life while this guy’s been writing.”

Those choices should keep you in biblioheaven for a few days at least. Check back next week for our iPod-destroying badass Summer Playlist. Happy word-surfing.

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2 Responses to theavantguardian’s summer reading list

  1. July 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    awesome list! thanks for putting this together!

  2. nikki moore
    July 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

    i am super-glad to find this list. thanks for compiling!

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