As we head into the unofficial end of summer with Labor Day weekend, we wondered about which books captured our authors’ attention during the dog days.
“My favorite book of the summer was James Salter’s All That Is. Incredibly, Salter published this recent novel when he was 88 years old, and yet his writing is as pointed and fresh and memorable as ever. The story follows a New York editor through decades of his life, beginning in the 1940s when he was a young soldier in WWII. The women he loves, the books he edits, the changing culture of America, and his travels through Europe: all are rendered in achingly gorgeous prose. I couldn’t stop reading.”
—Lin Enger, author of the forthcoming novel The High Divide
“This summer I finally filled in a major hole in my education after 40 years when I read Dante’s Divine Comedy, guided through the Inferno by Prue Shaw’s Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity. Both books were wonderful, but were edged out by the book I’ve just completed: Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood, by Joachim Fest. This gripping memoir takes us from Fest’s boyhood into his early twenties as Hitler comes to power, to the horror of Fest’s family, and then to war, as Fest dutifully but reluctantly goes to the front. Fest answers many of the questions that have long puzzled me: How did Germans view Hitler? Why were the Jews so late to react? Fest makes for a wonderful companion on the page, incredibly well-versed in literature and the arts, traits which not only set him apart from his companions but allow him to survive the terror. A terrific story, written by the man who lived it, late in life, possessing the wisdom of old age.”
—William Alexander, author of the memoir Flirting With French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart
“My favorite book this summer was Rebecca Makkai’s Hundred-Year House, a funny, swift, ingenious novel that, in chronological reverse, tells the hundred year history about a house that was once an artists colony and the familial, romantic, and artistic traumas and triumphs that did and almost did take place there. Loved it.”
—Brock Clarke, author of the forthcoming novel The Happiest People in the World