Reading Mourning Diary, I had the strange experience of feeling transported, through Barthes’s language, back across contours of my own mourning. I found myself unable to remember what it felt like be a few pages back, and I simply could not anticipate where I would be in several more. As Michael Wood notes in his review, “what is most striking in the end about this (hypothesis of a) book is its writtentracking of states of mind that writing itself can’t enter, only register.”
I don’t know about you, but I have tremendous resistance to gunking up my summer with to-do lists. Not that I don’t have them. An MQR summer reading list was at the top of my list, in fact. But summer in Vermont is hard earned, and hiking mountains trumped computer time. Then, there was a trip to Minnesota to help Bridget Beck celebrate her newest sculpture with poetry workshops and a reading in a corn field turned sculpture park; a show of my own to install at the Red Mill Gallery at the Vermont Studio Center; and finally, a move back to Georgia where I’ll finish up my dissertation this year. Now, lo and behold, the passage of Labor Day in the U.S. rules out white shoes till the spring, and college football tells me that it’s definitely fall even if it’s still a sweltering wet here in Georgia. While I can no longer conscionably offer you a summer reading list, the MQR blog contributors took their deadline more seriously than their editor did—bless them for it—and with apologies for my deadbeat-ness, I offer you a wonderful array of books to tempt you inside as the heat abates, and the leaves begin to turn. As the season moves toward a time when it’s cozy to cuddle up with a good book without the burden of a wandering eye begging you to head outside for summer fun, we hope you’ll make time for reading for fun. Our suggestions follow, and we hope that you’ll share your own summer/fall reading list with us (whether it’s actual or aspirational).