My Summer Reading List

Some of you know this already, some of you might not: I love to read. I read all the time. In the mornings, before work. At work. After the gym, before dinner, and after. Just before bed, and anywhere in between. Where ever I’m at, chances are I’ll have a book with me too. If you can’t see it, it’s probably in my backpack.

The summer months are some of my favorite times of the year to read. Sure, winter is nice – you get to sit next a fireplace or a heater and get cozy – but it gets dark by six. That’s wack. There’s something special about sitting on the beach and falling asleep with a book in your lap. Nothing beats it.

I also like reading in the summer because it’s when I have the most freedom to read what I want. Fall, winter, and spring are all dominated by whatever I’m assigned for school. I get to sneak a few of my own picks in here and there, but it’s rarely enough. My list is much more flexible in the summer.

I’ve made it through about half of my list so far. Here it is, with a little about each book:

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The first book of Marquez’ (who, unfortunately, recently passed away) that I’ve read. The story follows the Buendia family’s lives as they turn Macondo from a small village to thriving town. They live through disease, war, industrialization, and natural disaster. Marquez writes beautifully and brilliantly – after about fifteen pages it was clear why he won the Nobel Prize. This book was incredible, although a little dense at times. There were moments where I felt like I’d been reading for a half hour, only to find out I’d just barely covered six pages – even though a whole new generation was born, lived their entire lives, and died.

Jesus’ Son – Denis Johnson

This one was recommended to me by my friend, Lucas. A collection of short stories set in the midwest. They follow the lives of several heroin addicts (they’re all told from the perspective of the same narrator – known only as “Fuckhead”) as they commit crimes, take drugs and try to get their lives in order. My favorite parts of these stories were the perspective and Johnson’s writing style. The narration was chaotic and all over the place, mirroring the characters lives. “Car Crash while Hitchhiking” (the opening story) and “Work” are my two favorite stories in the collection. Definitely one of the more interesting books I’ve read this summer.

The Autobiography of Red – Anna Carlson

A novel in verse. Carlson’s modern retelling of the Hercules and Geryon myth. In the myth Hercules has to kill Geryon for one his labors and take his red cows. In Autobiography of Red, that isn’t quite how things go down. We get a much more human view of things, told from Geryon’s perspective. It’s kind of weird, but really unique and interesting. This is the most stylistically innovative and ambitious book I’ve read this summer. Also a book recommended to me by Lucas.

Too Much Happiness – Alice Munro

I snagged this one off my father’s bookshelf. I’m about halfway through it as I’m writing this post. Alice Munro’s stories are always brilliant – this collection is no exception. Her writing is incredible. It’s so subtle, precise and nuanced. She does more in thirty pages than many writers can do in three hundred. Her work is always a pleasure to read. “Free Radicals” and “Wenlock Edge” are the standouts of the collection so far. If you have the time, I suggest reading everything of hers that you can get your hands on. That’s my plan.

The River Swimmer – Jim Harrison

Another book I took from my father’s shelf. I don’t actually know too much about this one. My dad has been telling me good things about Harrison’s writing for years now so I finally got my hands on one of his books. I’m looking forward to getting into it. I’ll let you know what I think of it once I finish.

Said the Shotgun to the Head – Saul Williams

The only book of poetry on my list (I’m slacking, I know). I’ve never read Saul Williams before. I was walking through Barnes & Noble one day and this caught my eye. I’ve only just glanced at a few of the pages but from what I’ve seen it looks pretty experimental in terms of narrative and form, so I’m excited to check it out.

The Sound of the Waves – Yukio Mishima

Mishima is widely considered tone one of Japan’s greatest writers. He was a finalist for the Nobel Prize in 1963 and organized a coup to restore the Emperor to power in 1970 (he was unsuccessful, but it’s still sort of bad ass). I read a collection of his stories called Death In Midsummer and really enjoyed them – they were dark, funny, and immensely powerful – I’m interested in seeing how he handles the longer form.

What do you think of my list? What are you reading? Send me an email at contactincite@gmail.com or hit me up on twitter at @incitethemag or @calbino18! I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

(Re)Launch

It’s been a long time since I put pen to paper for something like this. I have to say – it feels good to be back. I didn’t do this properly the first time. I wasn’t focused and I didn’t give Incite the amount of attention it needed to thrive. It sat there on the mantle collecting dust. Not anymore. Things are looking right this time. The energy is back behind the project – there are some big things in the works. These next few weeks and months will be pretty exciting, to say the least.

Just a preview of everything to come:

Transatlantic adventures – I’ll be spending several months living in Rome, Italy, and traveling to the surrounding countries. It’s always been a dream of mine to travel and see the world – but I’ve never been out of the country before – so this journey is still surreal to me. I can’t believe it’s actually about to happen. But it’s been a long time in the making so I’m taking full advantage of this opportunity. Hell, if I didn’t have to finish school, I might not even come back.

(Re)Launch Party – We’ve got to celebrate the return of Incite and utilize this great summer weather while it lasts (I still shudder when I think of last winter) so why not do both at the same time? Barbecues are still the undisputed heavyweight champion of summer waves. How else could we do it? Great food, great drinks and great people. We’ll set this up some time early next month (August ninth is the tentative date), with more details to come as it gets closer to the date.

Collaborations with a couple great artists and musicians – these, though, will be kept under wraps until it’s time for them to drop. Like Jay Z and Bleek told us, “you let your shit bubble quietly – THEN YOU BLOW”

All in all it’s going to be an interesting and exciting summer. I’m looking forward to watching it all play out. I’m hoping you’ll rock with us at Incite to see it all go down.