Summer reading picks from an indie publisher

It must be summer: the office is half empty because my coworkers are at the beach or the mountains, I spend my weekends at the pool, and fresh berries and stone fruits are making appearances at every farmers’ market. This means it’s also time for Blair staff to share their summer reading picks. First up: Blair president Carolyn Sakowski muses over her newest books and just how to read them. (Anyone else dealing with that conundrum?)


I just finished A Visit from Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan on my iPad. I enjoyed this book in e-book format. The assortment of changing characters and the contemporary narrative seem perfect for the electronic media.

Yet while recently reading The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht on my iPad, I kept noticing that I was yearning to read this story on real book pages. I’m still pondering why the desire to read the folktale that Natalie’s grandfather told about the tiger and the deaf-mute on the printed page was so strong, but it’s led me to a summer reading experiment: to determine which books are suited for the iPad, and which are suited for the physical book.

Carolyn Sakowski summer reading list

So for the summer, I’ve purchased Karen Russell’s Swamplandia in book form and Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks as an e-book. After reading these two books, will I wish Russell’s story about the clan of alligator wrestlers in southwest Florida had been in e-book format for easier reading while traveling or on vacation? Will Brooks’ story about the Wampanoag Indian who graduated from Harvard in the 1600s be another story that I find myself wishing I had read in physical book form?

From her earlier works, I assume Ann Patchett is going to take me deep into the world of the Amazonian rainforest in State of Wonder, so I ordered a physical copy of this book. When I added Craig Johnson’s The Cold Dish to my list after reading about his latest offering in the series about Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire, it seemed like a perfect iPad candidate, especially for the airplane traveling I’ll be doing this summer.

As for which format to try for Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, which has been compared to Charles Portis’s True Grit, I’m just going to have to give that some more thought. Any suggestions from you, blog readers?


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