May 29th, 2008
11:03 AM ET

Summer reading list

Though I really don’t get any more time to read in the summer as I do in, say, February, there’s something about the idea of “summer reading” that prompts me (and, judging from the countless stories out there, others) to make up foolhardy lists of all the books I plan to immerse myself in over the next three months.

The irascible Lewis Black has a new book out.

So here’s what I plan hope to get to before Labor Day appears, knowing full well that this list will last about as long as a chill in August:

– “The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America,” Thurston Clarke (Henry Holt): I cried when I finished Evan Thomas’ RFK biography, and I expect to feel the same sadness when I get to the end of this new book about Kennedy’s ill-fated 1968 campaign.

– “Nixonland,” Rick Perlstein (Scribner): Perlstein’s book about the splintering of America, and its exploitation, should be a sobering bookend to “Last Campaign.”

– “The Enchantress of Florence,” Salman Rushdie (Random House): I hope to get the chance to interview Sir Salman when he comes to Atlanta in July to talk about his new novel, a romance set in the 16th century.

– “The Salterton Trilogy,” Robertson Davies (Penguin): I loved Davies’ Deptford Trilogy when I read it several years ago - particularly the amazing “Fifth Business” - but I haven’t returned to the late Canadian author. I hope to rectify that oversight.

– “Armageddon in Retrospect,” Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Putnam): Vonnegut’s final book is a collection of unpublished stories, many set during the waning days of World War II he described in “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

– “Me of Little Faith,” Lewis Black (Riverhead): The Comedy Central curmudgeon is fiercely entertaining on the air. Will he do the job on the page? (His first book, “Nothing’s Sacred,” worked pretty well.)

– “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain (Bantam): Each summer, my book club reads a classic. I haven’t picked up either of these books in years; I hope they hold up. (Incidentally, I highly recommend Ron Powers’ brilliant 2005 Twain biography, “Mark Twain: A Life.”)

If I can maintain my usual book-a-week pace, I should have time for a few others. David Sedaris’ new collection? John Szwed’s Miles Davis biography, “So What”? To paraphrase “Jaws” Chief Martin Brody, I'm gonna need a bigger list.

What’s on your shelf for the summer?

- Todd Leopold, Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Books
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