Happy Friday, once again! The Picador team is here to share our first round of summer Friday reads…
Picador’s new publisher, Stephen, is enjoying Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams (in its new paperback edition, of course):
Just read Denis Johnson’s much-lauded, Pultizer-finalist Train Dreams – powerful, moving, a multi-faceted gem of a book. Definitely worth reading as you travel this summer – at a pitch perfect 116 pages, you may also want to bring a long Johnson’s National Book Award winner Tree of Smoke if you read Train Dreams in one sitting.
Elianna is already reading the new galley of The Paris Review’s Object Lessons, which arrived yesterday, just in time for BEA. (The book will be available in October 2012.)
Justin is catching up with a classic, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, but the pages keep falling out of his used edition from 1973.
Gabrielle is nearly done with Stoner by John Williams.
Sadly, today, I am probably going to finish the amazingly depressing modern classic Stoner by John Williams. Stoner, a deceptive title for a story about an unlikely English professor whose life is plagued by a series of awfulness, feels all too realistic. In fact, every so often I find that I put the book down to catch my breath (and thank my lucky stars I’m not trapped in some terrible, loveless marriage).
When author Steve Almond wrote about it in Tin House he said, “because the author, John Williams, treats his characters with such tender and ruthless honesty … we cannot help but love them.” So true. The New York Review of Books website says they reissued it in 2006 but I remember a ton of buzz from my local booksellers last year. It seemed like everyone with excellent taste whom I trust was reading it at once. I don’t know what made them pick it up a bit late but, man, I’m glad they were convincing. Although outside my usual reading experience – the book is set in the Midwest and spans the time period between the First World War and the Second – Stoner is a truly amazing read. I might cry when I get to the last page.
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey is senior editor David’s current pick, along with lit mag Conjuctions.
I first read (and loved) it last summer, and Picador will reissue it on Tuesday with a new intro by Jeffrey Eugenides. Eugenides, in his introduction, calls it “that very rare thing: a book without antecedents.”
Is there anything more appropriate on National Donut Day than the title character of the book you’re reading dying of donut asphyxiation in the book’s opening pages?