A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Book Bingo: You’ve Been Meaning to Read

Summer Book Bingo is a partnership with The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures to provide free summer reading fun for adults. Swing by your local Seattle library branch or any one of SAL’s partner bookstores to grab a Bingo Card, then spend your summer reading great books—you can win fabulous prizes!

By Amelia Peacock, SAL’s Community Engagement Coordinator

My choice of Book Bingo square is surrounded by a deep moat of irony. I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time, and meaning to read these books for even longer. Instead, they teeter in forlorn towers, small secondary bedside tables at my pillow. It may be an unassailable feat to read them all, especially before Book Bingo ends on September 5th, but then, what are balmy August nights for?

To me, summer reading has always meant classics. Growing up, my father, a rainy day reader at best, would commit to finishing one classic book each summer. His notable conquests included The Grapes of Wrath, Main Street, and Moby Dick. So, as summer draws to a close, I find myself reaching for the foundation books of my meaning-to-read piles. The following selections are classics I’ve picked up and put down time and time again, interspersed with an increasingly prominent genre on my reading list: the updated classic or, classic with a twist. I’ll leave you to decide if you prefer the twist in your reading or accompanying summer cocktail.

I rarely purchase books, especially in hardback, but I instantly fell for Re-Jane by Patricia Park, an insightful, 21st century retelling of one of my favorite classics, Jane Eyre. As an added bonus, Patricia Park will be joining Sherman Alexie for the final event in the inaugural Sherman Alexie Loves Series this season at SAL. The event will feature three debut novelists also including Ariel Schrag and Sunil Yapa.

Did I mention I love Jane Eyre? The prequel and response to Charlotte Brontë’s classic, The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, is also high on my list of meaning-to-reads. Spoiler Alert: The story is written from the perspective of the maybe not-so-crazy wife in the attic. Harper Lee’s sequel, Go Set A Watchman, sounds like the perfect follow-up read, rejoining the beloved character Scout on her return home and the hard truths she discovers about her father and childhood.

On a more dramatic note, I am looking forward to finally picking up and finishing The Princess Bride by William Goldman, a cherished story and film since childhood. It may not have Billy Crystal’s comedic timing, but I know it will be filled with miracles. Next, I hope to wrestle again with William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I started this warped classic as an overly ambitious college student studying creative writing in Dublin for the summer. It gave a whole new meaning to easy airplane reading, but I trust that a few more years and adjusted expectations will help me dive deeper.

Finally, the most twisted of all: a classic within a classic, Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus Descending. This play first came to my attention when I saw a reinterpretation of the script as part of the 2015 Intiman Theatre Festival. As always, I was engrossed by Williams’ painstaking, poetic play with language and characterization, and I look forward to reading the original, a loose retelling of the ancient Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Cheers, and here’s to long summer nights locked in castles of words!

Posted in Sonder