Share your summer reading list

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Ta-Nehisi Coates's “The Water Dancer”

Hello to all of you! I hope the summer has treated you well so far.

As part of our ongoing attempts to keep the community connected during these challenging times, I’m reaching out through this blog to ask what I hope is a pleasant question: what are you all reading this summer?

It’s my intent to compile some book recommendations to share on the college’s Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. As we are all more complicated human beings than the topics we teach and engage with at Paul, I would love if those recommendations came from a variety of genres–fiction, non-fiction, related to current events, related to your research, related to that random hobby nobody knows you have. Fantasy, horror, memoir, poetry, mystery, thrillers. If you can read it, it qualifies! It can be something you’re currently reading and enjoying, or it can be anything you’ve previously read that you personally believe other people would enjoy and/or should read. I cannot stress this enough: any book is game!

It only feels fair that I should share two recommendations to both kick things off and offer an example of what I’m looking for. I’m partial to historical fiction and fantasy, so the magical realism of Ta-Nehisi Coates's debut novel “The Water Dancer” had me glued to its pages last week. The story follows a young enslaved man named Hiram Walker as he gets involved in the Underground Railroad. It blends a deep knowledge of American history with believable characters and fantastical ideas about how the power of stories, of memory, can transport people to freedom. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Early this season I also read “The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon, an epic feminist fantasy built in an equally familiar and unique magical world that melds classic and modern ideologies. Truly outstanding in its class.

If you’re interested in sharing some recommendations, please send them to Bonus points if you take a picture of the book(s) somewhere in your house! If you search #summerreading on Instagram you’ll see some great examples of ways you can photograph books. Top-down on a cool surface works very well. If you’re a kindle reader (like me) you can just flip to the cover page on the kindle. I like to read on my porch swing, so I grabbed a shot there.

I look forward to hearing about what everyone is reading and sharing the results!