Can't Wait to Read!
To me, summer used to be about escapism. I discovered my love of reading as a young man by spending the afternoon thunderstorms digging into huge paperback adventures, things like Clive Cussler’s Raise the Titanic, or science fiction about planet-killing comets. As I got older, I managed enough good fortune to learn that these kinds of books were written by actual, verifiable human beings, a prospect I hadn’t really considered as a pre-teen. And once I fell in love with an author, I learned that I wanted to read all of what they’d done. I’ve heard theorists refer to this as reading vertically, but I didn’t need a name for it; whether it was John Irving in high school or Harry Crews and Don DeLillo in college, or everything from Defoe to Lydia Davis to Alice Munro in graduate school, I wanted to know exactly when a favorite author’s new book was coming out. In the 90s, I took writing classes at night and a part-time job at the Borders books closest to my house, mostly for the employee discount and the chance to sneak away with an advance copy of the latest fiction. That’s how I discovered Rick Moody, Lorrie Moore, Frederick Barthelme, and a few others. To me, the Tuesday of publication day always has a certain excitement. So here are a few that I definitely would have stolen from the Borders stockroom, if Borders still existed.