What We're Reading: GFP's Not-So-Beachy Summer Reads

This week, Paul sent all the Girls and Boys a reasonable question: Paul: Has anyone read the new Jane Smiley trilogy, aside from my mom? I just got the first one from the public library.

And I found the resulting thread pleasing. Let's just say that GFP doesn't seem to go in for light reading, but this is an incredible round-up with well-curated picks that I wanted to share with you. ~LAM

Christina: Please let me know if I should give it a go.

Lam: No, I’m reading Barkskins, which is incredible. Language is exquisite. It was a pleasant surprise in my Powell's Indiespensable box.

Kristin: What’s everyone else reading? I’m a quarter of the way into Barbarian Days—I love it. Best beach read ever (at least if you’ve ever wanted to be, or ever been, a surfer).

Paul: I’m reading Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (who won the Pulitzer for The Orphan Master’s Son, which I haven’t read but might because Fortune Smiles is really awesome). I recently read something I wanted to recommend to everyone, called They May Not Mean To, But They Do. Really good. Definite Corrections echoes, though a different style and no talking poop. I called it a “beachy Corrections” (in my NY Times review). Also a story collection called You May See a Stranger, which was GOOD. Cathleen Schine and Paula Whyman are the respective authors on those.

Emily: I’ve got Fortune Smiles on my list, so that’s good feedback! I just finished The Faraway Nearby (I like reading Solnit in the summertime), and started Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir on my bus ride this a.m. and I’m hooked.

Anna: William Trevor’s A Bit on the Side. I love that gray Irish language when the sun is shining.

Sara: Emily, Blood, Bones & Butter is in my GFP bio! I just read Sweetbitter. If you worked in restaurants it might resonate. The reviews have been really mixed, but I couldn’t put it down. She was the good girl/bad girl combo I never really was but kind of aspired to be. Too late now.

Nicole: I just finished Yaa Gyasi’s timely Homegoing. It’s a good one.

Emilie: I just started The Sympathizer a few days ago and so far so awesome. Just won the Pulitzer AND the Edgar, which makes it unique in the history of major literary award winners. My husband read it for his dudes’ book club, and they hailed it as the best book they’d read yet.

Kim: I’m rereading my NaNoWriMo draft, which I don’t recommend to anyone else.