New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has just listed ten books which are on his summr rereading list because they’re “triumphs of fiction, both fun to read and significant for literary or historical reasons, relating to social justice at a time when inequality in America has soared to historic levels.”
Here’s Kristof’s list of Best Beach Reading Ever—“Germinal” by Emile Zola, “Pale Fire” by Vladimir Nabokov, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, “Our Man in Havana” by Graham Greene, “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, “Les Miserables” by Victory Hugo, “The Mysterious Stranger” by Mark Twain, and “Scoop” by Evelyn Waugh.
Assuming that anyone even vaguely connected to the University of Kansas is now rereading (or perhaps reading for the first time) the novels of science-fiction giant Theodore Sturgeon because of the recent acquisition of his books, papers, manuscripts and correspondence by the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, thanks to retired English professor James Gunn, himself a giant in the field, one might have time to read just three more non-Sturgeon novels for what’s left of the summer.
My three would be— “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin, because it would make right-wing conservative Christians fall down on their knees in perpetual prayer, and maybe also for occasional inappropriate sex with members of their own sex; “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren, which firmly advocates that, if you dig deep enough, you can find dirt on anyone, Republicans as well as Democrats; and “The Transposed Heads” by Thomas Mann, because I keep fantasizing about what it would look like to graft the heads of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor on the bodies respectively of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Mary Matalin. Or, truer to the spirit and theme of Mann’s novel, perhaps the heads of Hillary Clinton, Claire McCaskill and Elizabeth Warren on the torsos of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor.
So, those are my three summer rereads. What are yours?