Mariann has been here at KU for just a few months, but she’s got our jive down pretty well. She’s a quiet one, but damn is that girl good at organizing things. In her previous life she was probably a dragon that kept her hoard filed alphabetically.
Check out her Summer Reading selections!
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Murakami’s latest work of fiction is a must for even the most casual fan. Ethereal and wistful, this story follows our despairing protagonist on a quest to seek closure in a lonely life defined by comparison. One question haunts the narrative and when answered leaves us troubled by the unfortunate nature of miscommunication.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Running away to live in a museum has never been more fun. Part mystery, part brother-sister bonding tale, this is a timeless classic (not just for children!) that deserves a re-read.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
The more I’ve thought about it, the title of this book is strikingly apt. Apt in that it is joking, playful, snide, and knowingly self-aware, much like the work itself. A meditation on the endurance of the human spirit, the “genius” is in the journey I was happy to take and you will be too. With a superb navigator, this is a fantastic introduction to the genre of creative non-fiction
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
As the protagonist of the text, “you” fall in love with a beautiful woman you meet in a bookstore. As the protagonist of the text, you are ensnared in the inner-workings of the literary world. As a reader of the text, each chapter is the beginning of a new genre-specific novel that is interrupted right as the text begins to evolve. Somehow these two parallel narratives impressively mix and mash together to create an intriguing work of postmodernist fiction.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
A good place to start if you’re at all curious about Virginia Woolf’s writing. A woman of high society questions her marriage and social obligations. In a world before the diagnosis PTSD, a veteran experiences flashbacks that push him into the darkest of places. How do we age with passion, how do we experience time? Float down the stream of consciousness with Woolf’s musings on past, present, and parties.
New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The ultimate detective collection twists and turns through a few gumshoes’ persistent search for the truth in conflicting realities. Originally published in installments, these three stories complement one another in their meta-fictional essence. This collection doesn’t take itself too seriously and instead offers a refreshing take on the traditional hard-hitting crime story.
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
A vague account of dreams, maps, skydivers, and oil spills, an anthropologist is tasked with writing a report for a suspect mega-corporation. This text examines why we analyze society and culture and who this analysis benefits. I read it in one sitting.
Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
Before the illuminati conspiracy craze swept the American underground, there were hypotheses about presidential destiny and the imagery hidden on a pack of Camel cigarettes. What does this have to do with redheads, blackberries, and the city of Seattle? Read along to find out.
The Stranger by Albert Camus
This existential classic will have you grappling with the implications of a person’s moral constitution. As far as the perfect summer reading book, well, it does take place on a beach…
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
The near dystopian future is falling in love online. It is an awkward negotiation between digital avatars and a global economy on the political fritz. Immortality and image collide to bring a satirical take on unexpected, cloying romance.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Are you an aging record producer? Someone’s personal assistant? A former punk, a future parent, a love-struck fool? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this book is for you. Travel through the years with a cast of characters who are truly rock and roll. Egan crafts a hilarious and heart-wrenching tale of broken dreams and new beginnings. As a homeless bassist utters mid-way through the text, “time is a goon.”
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The memoir to end all memoirs. The emptiness of grief is explored with such complexity from a journalistic and personal perspective. The jarring and sudden death of a spouse. The illness and decline of a daughter. If ever there were a book to make you cry, this is it.