Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda has written before about his preferences for winter reading (the long nights perfect for history, as he says in one of the capsule reviews here, and for mystery, as he says here, and for ghost stories too, as he said in a column I can't find to link); for summer, he seems to like an equally wide range, though maybe still with a lean toward genre fiction, as he shows here.
For me, summer is distinct from the other seasons in a different but significant way: During the school year, I'm mostly reading texts for class, while in the summer I mostly have more freedom in my reading.
I should emphasize that word mostly in both cases. During the school year, I'm always sneaking in some reading of my own (often short stories), and as this summer proved, it's sometimes tough to break cleanly from the academic world.
The Semester of Our Discontent. And a collection I picked up next, B.K. Stevens' Her Infinite Variety, featured a great story about adjuncts—more university life! (I actually wrote about both of these books in a column at the Washington Independent Review of Books, along with some other academic mysteries.)
By the second half of the summer, I was already gearing up for the next school year (starting this Monday!)—reading and research specifically into 19th-century detective fiction by women writers for a course called "Women of Mystery" I'll be teaching for the first time. It was great fun to revisit or to read for the first time works by Harriet Prescott Spofford, Mary Fortune, C.L. Pirkis, Anna Katherine Green, and Baroness Orczy, among others. (And if you want links to some free reads by several of these writers, check out my column on this topic, also at the Washington Independent Review of Books.)
Yes. I read Iain Reid's twisty, edgy thriller I'm Thinking of Ending Things (which I wrote about here at my other group blog, SleuthSayers).
I reread Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man (which I also wrote about at SleuthSayers).
And I finally read Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (maybe the last person I know to do so, and while I don't have plans to write about anywhere, I will say I really admired it...at least until the final sections).
All these links to other newspapers and magazines and blogs.... Any chance of showing some love to the blog at hand?
Yes, again! Here past the half-year mark, I'm also happy to report that I've stayed completely on track with my chapter-a-day goal to read War and Peace this year—a new year's resolution I wrote about in my first post of 2016 here at Criminal Minds.
As for the other resolutions... well, that's for another post toward the end of the year, I guess.
As usual, a quick bit of news here at column's end. This Sunday, August 28, I'll be joining my wife, Tara Laskowski, and our good friend David Olimpio for this month's edition of the Reston Readings series at Reston's Used Book Shop in Reston, Virginia.
Did I write Reston enough?
The reading starts at 5:30 p.m., and full information is available at the event's Facebook page here. Folks in the DC area, hope to see you there!