Welcome to our annual summer reading poll! (And we've done lots of extra reading polls in the last year, so if you want more recommendations, see fall, winter and spring.) Author birthdays this weekend: Paul Dunbar, Helen Keller and Alice McDermott on Saturday; Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Eric Ambler on Sunday.
The poll: please recommend a great book to add to our summer reading lists, and tell us what fragrance we should wear while reading it.
My recent reading:
I have spent most of the last quarter painting various rooms in my house, so my podcast listening is up, and my reading is down.
On the non-fiction front, I read three books, although all three involved some skimming: The Diabetes Code by Jason Fung, Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation and Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney. (You could wear Le Jardin de Monsieur Li for Real Happiness, but the other two are probably best read commando.)
On the mystery / thriller front, I read the last two in the series of old-school British mysteries by Edmund Crispin, Glimpses of the Moon and Fen Country. (I really enjoyed this series and I wish there were more. Eau Sauvage or Eau de Guerlain.) Then I read book 12 in Dorothy Simpson’s Thanet series (Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert).
Turning to fiction, I am still reading Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light, and I might be for a long time yet. (I love the book, but I am having a hard time moving Thomas Cromwell towards his end. Once I got about halfway through the book, it began to seem intolerably sad for pandemic reading.) I finished Angela Thirkell's High Rising (Angie recommended her, and if you have access to The New Yorker archives, you might read Good Show, a 1996 article about Thirkell by Hermione Lee, and you might wear Penhaligon's Artemisia or Bluebell), and I am about halfway through The Parisian by Isabella Hammad (fantastic novel recommended by my stepmother; something old school, maybe vintage Caron Tabac Blond).
Note: top image is detail from the Library of Congress National Book Festival poster for 2016, by artist Yuko Shimizu. You can find a gallery of all the Book Festival posters on the Library of Congress website.