I’VE BEEN TRAVELING most of June and will be for the next half of July, and the long bus / plane rides have created sweet and often strange reading situations. Below is a sort of comprehensive list of what I’ve read, where, the medium, and a qualitative rating on its “summer-readability.”
Title: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
- Massive Softcover Book
Completed: First 2/3rds (without footnotes), first in Argentina (on buses, planes), then at parents’ house. This is my second time reading IJ. It was too big and heavy to take with me on current road trip, so left back at parents’ house in Florida.
Rating: Dour. Reading IJ over the summer feels like wearing pants in Hawaii or something. It’s too heavy to put in your backpack. It’s doesn’t fit in standard airplane seatback pockets. I can’t imagine trying to “kindle it.” Deserves being read in long stretches with highlighter / writing implement in hand. Save for long depressing intervals over wintertime.
Title: Back issues of 2010 Surfer’s Journal
- “Coffee-table” Magazine
Completed: 2 issues on parents’ sofa.
Rating: Tentative. SJ got me both stoked for travel / surf, but then frustrated at the ankle-high wave conditions on the Gulf Coast of Florida. SJ seems too “nice” to want to get them all sandy / crinkled. Deserves being read / examined in temperature / dust-controlled environment, then either being collected in large binder or just gifted to someone, ideally locals in the places you end up traveling to in search of waves.
Title: Best Behavior by Noah Cicero
- Small paperback
Completed: In 3 days at parents’ house in Sarasota, then reviewed here at Matador.
Rating: Summery. BB is ideal summer reading material. Book is light and small and good for passing on to friends.
Title: The Farmer’s Daughter by Jim Harrison
- : Hardcover library book
Completed: In a week up in rented house in Asheville, N.C.
Rating: Late-summery / Autumnal. Good travel size, and content is broken down to three novellas. Library plastic-y hardcover is good for swatting mosquitoes / wasps up against hotel/hostel room walls.
Title: “Relationship Story” by Tao Lin
- 5k word story online, published by Vice
Completed: In a single sitting at the La Quinta Inn on Haynes Bridge Road in Atlanta
Rating: Orbital. Feels disassociated with any seasons or place, which paradoxically grounds you where you are at the present moment.