booking through thursday: summer reading

Do your reading habits change in the summer? Do you take your books outside more? Do you curl up in the air conditioning? Do you read fluff instead of serious books? Are you too busy playing in the sun or gardening or whatever to read much at all?

I just got back home last night from a fantastic vacation in up north Wisconsin and Da Yooper! Family reunion, beers, grilling, hanging out at the lake cabin, outdoor sports… what more could you want!? It was a wonderful trip and I just love spending time with my family… although we were so packed with activities, I didn’t have much time to read!

So that brings me to today’s Booking Through Thursday question regarding summer reading habits. I think my habits may shift just a little, depending on what I have going on, but nothing drastic. I still like best to read on the porch with a tasty beverage nearby. Usually in the summers I have no rehearsals or concerts, and this summer no internet or TV at home (and my husband is away), so I’ve been reading more than the other seasons. But I’m moving again August 1, so then my reading time will be cut down a bit as I get our new apartment set up. Also, I have taken two long road trips already and not been able to read much on them (well, I say that, but I mean paper/ebooks. I was able to get through a lot of audiobooks in the car!). So it just depends. I don’t pick books/genres differently, I think… although this particular summer I’ve been drawn to sci-fi/horror/plague type stories a little more than usual.

How does the summertime effect your reading habits?

booking through thursday: patriotism

Do you ever read books that could be considered patriotic? Rousing stories of heroes? History? Brave countrymen and women doing bold things? What would you recommend if somebody asked you for something patriotic—no matter what your country?

love reading about history, politics, and the economy. This is a great Booking Through Thursday topic for July 4! I’m going to stick to mostly United States-related books for this post. Right now I’m actually reading a very patriotic book: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose, which follows the Lewis and Clark expedition across the untamed American wilderness west of the Mississippi River—perfect for July!

Read and Recommend:
A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest… by John Nichols
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Christopher Hayes
I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert
Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
1984 by George Orwell
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Want to Read:

Beyond Outrage by Robert B. Reich
What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman
Our Divided Political Heart by E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Game Change by John Heilemann + Mark Halperin
What It is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley
The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition…Socialism by John Nichols
They’re Bankrupting Us! And 20 Other Myths about Unions by Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop it by Lawrence Lessig

… and so many more!!!! TOO MANY BOOKS.

What books have you read that could be considered patriotic?

booking through thursday: book damage

What’s the worst thing you ever did to your reading material? Have you EVER damaged your book/magazine/paper?

Last week, I missed Booking Through Thursday because I was on vacation in Aspen! It was beautiful and I’ll write up a post soon. (Post(s) coming soon about the audiobooks I listened to on the drive, too!)

Let’s see… damaging books. I’m pretty uptight about keeping my possessions in as pristine shape as possible (a trait inherited from my dear ol’ dad!)… I cringe when I see scratched discs or records, water-stained paper edges make me wince, [insert other corny alliterations]… But for real though, I like to take good care of my stuff. That said, no one is immune to a mishap here and there.

A normal habit of mine is reading a book while on my lunch break at work, so on occasion I’ve accidentally dipped corners of my books into my soup/salad dressing/etc. and left a little stain. There’s this one thing that I always do, pretty much to every single book I read, though. Due to the way I hold the book, I make a tiny little rectangular-shaped tear/crease at the bottom center of a page. Usually it only happens about once per book. Maybe it’s my big strong bass player hands…! But really it’s annoying and I don’t know… it just happens!

Otherwise… one time about a year ago, I was enjoying a book on the deck in the backyard and all of a sudden a bird pooped on it, right in my hands!! I guess I didn’t
feel quite as strongly about the book as this bird apparently did 😉

How about you? Have you damaged your books at all?

booking through thursday: dream cast

Do you ever wonder who could be cast as your favorite characters? What actors do you think have done particularly excellent jobs with some of your favorite characters?

This week’s Booking Through Thursday is a tough one for me. I’m not super awesome at identifying actors—not watching current TV much or seeing new movies often—and I honestly don’t imagine real-life actors’ faces embodying a character as I’m reading, but sometimes afterwards I can picture certain actors playing those roles. This is proving to be a fun exercise! Here’s whom I could see cast for some recent reads of mine (tried to pick stuff that hasn’t already been adapted to film):

Lauren Ambrose as Claire Roth in The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro: I could just be thinking this because my husband and I have been watching Six Feet Under, in which Lauren Ambrose played a budding artist, coincidentally also named Claire.

Nelsan Ellis as the Teacher in The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten: As a bassist, obviously I could only picture Victor Wooten playing Victor Wooten! But I could definitely see Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette from True Blood) playing the teacher, who mysteriously appears from time to time to help Victor through his performing, musical, and philosophical issues.

Dominic Chianese as Louie Zamperini in Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: I am not sure who would play the young Louie in a movie version of this harrowing WWII biography, but I can imagine Dominic Chianese playing an older Louie, reflecting back on his incredible life.

Emile Hirsch as Billy Lynn in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain: I am probably just making this pick because I thought Hirsch did a great job as Chris McCandless in the film adaptation of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Pasquale Tursi, Charlize Theron as Dee Moray, and Gary Oldman as Alvis Bender in Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: I know Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t Italian, but I think he’d be good in the role of Pasquale (at least, as the young Pasquale of the 60s), and Charlize Theron could be a good Dee. And I just love love love Gary Oldman—he’s one of my favorite actors.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Bit in Arcadia by Lauren Groff: Wouldn’t he be great as sweet, idealistic, romantic, still-innocent adult Bit? Not sure who’d play Bit as a child, though.

Tom Hardy as Will and Anne Hathaway as Louisa in Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: I have no idea if they would have any on-screen chemistry, but I think that, despide his beefy-ness, Tom Hardy could play the outwardly assy but emotionally complex Will and Anne Hathaway has Louisa’s same kind of flawed yet relatable girl-next-door vibe.

What is your answer? What actors do you envision playing your favorite book characters?

booking through thursday: choosing

What makes you choose the books you read? Genre? Reviews? Certain authors? Covers? Recommendations?

Trying to get back into the Booking Through Thursday weekly meme, too! I usually come across new (to me) books on book blogs. Then, depending on the reviewer and what they say, I check it out on Goodreads to see its rating there. (Not that the star rating means anything necessarily, but I can see how many of my friends on there have read it, and how many stars they rate it.) Once in a while (not often, because I have a huge TBR I’m trying to whittle down), I browse what’s new at a bookstore. Ultimately, though, I just trust my gut feeling about a story or subject matter, whether it immediately interests me or not. There are certain authors that I love and will always try to keep up with: Jon Krakauer, Wally Lamb, Alex Ross, Michael Pollan, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Mary Roach, Gillian Flynn, Erik Larsen, and more. I’ve read a lot by Steve Martin, Gabriel García Márquez, Paulo Coelho, among others. Typically if I loved (or even really liked) a book by an author, I am apt to read more by them, even if it takes me forever to get to it! Cover art isn’t necessarily a very strong factor, but I’ll admit that I’m generally turned off by overly gendered cover art (male or female), or art that implies young adult or cheezy romance.

What is your answer? How do you go about choosing books to read?