Our sixth Summer Reading Survey comes courtesy of the cartoonist Seth, whose recent George Sprott graphic novel has made several of these lists.
I never really know what I am going to read in the summer –there are always several stacks of books piled around the house. However here are some good possibilities:
1. A Progressive Traditionalist: John M. Lyle, Architect by Glenn McArthur. A stunning new book from Coach House press about this important Canadian architect. I have long admired his buildings in Toronto.
2. The Cossacks by L. Tolstoy.
3. Doom Patrol volumes 4 and 5. Just finished these both. Doom Patrol is so strangely melancholy and vacant for such a pop-y and silly comic book series. I had hoped the final issue would be a little more over the top in it’s grimness (considering what happens in that issue) but it let me down.
4. Abstract Painting in Canada by Roald Nasgaard. I’m only a chapter or two into the book but I am enjoying it. I have heard of almost no one! A lot of the painting in these early chapters is kind of crummy–all the more reason to love it for it’s quintessentially Canadian second rateness! Seriously though, I think this is a very interesting and long overdue book.
5. Beyond Remembering: The Collected Poems of Al Purdy by Al Purdy. Nobody reads a whole big poetry book all at once. I skim into this book about once or twice a month. Some of these poems have seriously made me reconsider how I write comics (though you’d never know it from what I write).
6. Art and Illusion by E. H. Gombrich. James Sturm turned me on to this book a few years ago. Maybe I will finish it this year! Literally every page has a new idea on it that makes you look differently at art.
7. Pale Fire (Everyman’s Library (Cloth)) by Vladimir Nabokov It’s near the top of the pile. I really should read it. Everyone says it’s great.
8. The Seeds of Time by John Wyndham. I bought a cheap paperback of this the other day and have read one story in it. It was a story set on mars and Gosh, did it ever feel like the Martian Chronicles. I checked the copyright date and it was written in 1949. Bradbury’s book came out in 1950. Were they writing these stories at the same moment? Something in the air?
9. The Terror and Other Stories: Vol. 3 of The Best Weird Tales of Arthur Machen (Call of Cthulhu Fiction). I recently read a short story by Machen called THE GREAT RETURN. It so impressed me I immediately bought this 3 volume set of his stories. I just began this volume and….I don’t know. The first story is not exactly impressing me. It feels kind of like Lord Dunsuny (who I cannot stand–terrible purple writing). I will carry on though. The first story might just be a stinker.
10. Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler
Just finished this a couple of weeks ago and it was such a great book. Funny, smart, and genuinely moving. I finished the book while eating dinner in a fancy french restaurant alone in New York. I had had a couple of glasses of wine and was kind of tipsy but still–my eyes were glistening with emotion when I read that last page. A simply terrific book. I hope they don’t fuck it up as a movie.