Summer is here. It’s time, if you’re lucky, to snuggle up with a good book.
But which book? You put your hand in a tote bag, and what comes out? A page turner? A romance novel? Science fiction? Young adult?
Or maybe, keeping the local, you turn to “Excuse me while i disappear, A recently published collection of short stories by Joanna Scott of Rochester, the acclaimed author of 10 novels.
Rest assured, as you read Scott, who teaches at the University of Rochester, she’s taking advantage of the summer and the freedom it gives her to do a lot of reading and proofreading.
“I’m mixing heavy, rereading Mann’s’Magical mountain, ‘”, she wrote to me in an email,” with a grasp,’Sudden sea, ‘a non-fictional tale of the 1938 hurricane – my kind of page turner !, and popular, just to see what happens, the Patterson / Clinton collaboration.
There you have it, a perfect guide for summer reading. Mix the heavy with the grabbing with the popular.
And if you need a little inspiration, you could enjoy a terrific online series created by Rochester’s Writers & Books. It is a pandemic product that has been shown to have a long shelf life.
Long a center for writing and reading, Writers & Books closed its doors last year after the pandemic. But starting in the summer of 2020, it launched a series of free webinars with authors.
Zoom Conversations (most of which can be found on the YouTube Writers & Books page) are with a wide variety of authors. Coming from all over the country, they read their work, discuss with a moderator, answer questions via chat.
This year, the writers featured in the series have included poet Hanif Abdurraqib and essayist Patrice Gopo. Joanna Scott will speak on July 22. Then, on July 27, the series will feature a conversation with Lauren Hill, the author of “Strike the Hammer, The Black Freedom Struggle in Rochester, New York, 1940-1970. “
The writers of the series often discuss the writing process itself, right down to the details of when, where and how they carry out their work.
It is not an easy job. On July 10, Joani Elliott explained how she came to write her recently published first novel, âThe boldness of Sara Grayson. âThere were false starts, a lot of doubts.â The writing went from difficult to bad to worse to scary, âshe said during the webinar.â I just struggled, I was starting ideas, I stopped, I restarted, I started, and it was right, my writing was going terribly.
Then something clicked, and the resulting novel is a perfect summer (or other season) to read about a girl who reluctantly sets out to finish a hugely popular novel series started by her recently deceased mother.
Elliott’s appearance was co-sponsored by the Livonia Public Library in Livingston County. It also sponsors the appearances of Ed Fuller and Gary Grossman, co-authors of the thriller “Red disappointmentâ(July 17); Ed Hajim, author of the memoir âOn the Road Less Traveled: An Implyly Journey from the Orphanage to the Boardroomâ (July 31): and Mike Bond, who wrote ââAmerica: a novelÂ»(August 14).
These titles alone make for a pretty good summer reading list, but here are a few more recommendations from Frank Sykes, the director of the library. He finished, and really likes, “Hail Mary project“, Science fiction by Andy Weir, author of” The Martian “. He also appreciated “These Truths: A History of the United States“, By Jill Lepore, as well as”WildA memoir from Glennon Doyle, who is married to Abby Wambach, the soccer star and originally from Rochester.
My wife, Cindy, recommends âMiss Benson’s beetle“, a wonderful and engaging road trip from a novel by Rachel Joyce. And there is”The parcelâ, A literary mystery by Jean Hanff Korelitz. I support his nominations.
So many books; so little time. Make your own lists. Turn those pages. Have fun in the summer.
For more details on the Writers & Books Conversation with Writers series, visit wab.org.
From his home in Geneseo, Livingston County, retired editor Jim Memmott writes about the bonds that bind us together, even in times of concern. He can be contacted at [email protected] or write Box 274, Geneseo, NY 14454