5 Books You Should Read This Summer: Guest Post by Cassie @ CultureCoverage.com

dunce books

Summer is a great time to get started on that stack of books that you’ve meant to tackle for some time; between sunning by the pool, jet-setting all over the world and just having a break to finally breathe from the mayhem of everyday, non-summer life (for the lucky ones, that is), this list is your answer to breaking out of reality and getting lost in some great prose.

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Books to Read if You Love “Saturday” by Ian McEwan

Sometimes, when you really love a book, you think “man, I really like this book, I wish I had a million more like it.”  I’ve had this feeling here recently with Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment.  So good!  But unfortunately, it seems to be uniquely good.  It sort of defies comparison.  One contributor has described it as Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs meets Herman Koch’s The Dinner.  So far, I have found that to be very accurate.  But unfortunately I have already read both of those books.  So now what? Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Sixteen: “In the desert were drag marks.”


Lost scouts, found scouts, wild bulls, and lots of drinking, this was another rowdy chapter.  It increasingly seems like all these men have a death wish, or at least a death indifference.  But the judge keeps smiling, and they keep on drinking and dancing.  One gets the distinct impression that things are about to get a lot uglier too.  We’ll see. Continue reading

“The Woman Upstairs,” by Claire Messud

I had a dentist appointment recently, and brought this book along.  I knew I’d only have a maximum of about 5 minutes of free reading time, if any.  Sure enough, though I got there a few minutes early, they brought me right back.  Dang it!  I was disappointed.  From the moment I picked this book up, eating, sleeping, working, breathing, all seemed like a burden and unwelcome distraction from the only thing I really wanted to be doing, and that was reading more of this book.  It was that good.  Reminded me what I love so much about reading. Continue reading

Consider the Lobster- Book Review

Speaking of exceptional essay collections, I found myself in desperate need of a good book recommendation here lately and, as I will often do, I turned to Dunce One.  I have never been so satisfactorily recommended (probably having a great deal to do with the fact that he has impeccable taste in literature and knows me better than (just about) anyone else; probably also not hurting that he is remarkably well-read and deals extensively with books, both professionally and recreationally). Continue reading

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: Book Review

Sometimes you read a book, and the characters are so well developed, so deep, so true, that you forget that they are not real people.  Such was the case with The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.  Each has passions, each has flaws.  Each has dreams and disappointments.  This was a beautiful, character-driven novel, and I fell in love with all of it. Continue reading

Record Collecting for Girls: Book Review

girl profileRecord Collecting for Girls by Courtney E. Smith was a runaway delight.  I have to confess, at first I was a little bit intimidated by the “for girls” qualifier.  Not that I shy away from literature with a prediminently female audience in mind, but the “for girls” label right there in the title was daunting (I mean, what if somebody saw me reading it?).  Yet I persevered, and I am SO glad that I did. Continue reading

Favorite book quotes

In my Love in the Time of Cholera post, I mentioned that I liked the quote: “A man should have two wives: one to love and one to sew on his buttons.”  And I did, I thought it was funny.  But sometimes a passage from a book just speaks to you, manifests your feeling, but more eloquently, says it in a way you wish but know you never could. Continue reading