As the mid-year mark approaches, what is the state of your stack? Are you reading what you planned to read, or are you happy to have veered away from projects you’d expected to complete? Have you got some new reading projects in mind for the second half of 2016?

I’m still working to complete some left-unfinished and overly neglected reads and series, but lately I’ve been reading like a schoolgirl on holiday, picking up the next book in my stack and, along the way, picking up a bunch of books that were just on the ‘someday’ stack and then were suddenly desirable in a given moment.

Marge Piercy’s Gone to Soldiers – The only remnant from my last In the Stacks photo. I’m considering a reread of Summer People when the weather gets hotter. Although I admire the kaleidoscopic view of the folks coping with wartime, at home and on the front, I miss the complete immersion into one or two characters’ experiences, which I remember loving about her writing.

June2016Weekend StackElena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend – I’ve resisted long enough. Now, I’m just too curious what all the fuss is about. Admittedly, the nature of the women’s friendship is immediately of interest. One woman disappears, the other wallows in memories: I do want to know more.

Jane Hamilton’s The Excellent Lombards – Oh, how I loved The Book of Ruth. And, I’ve read almost all of her novels since (except the one about a Madeleine). I’m curious how much this family story will differ from her debut family portrait.

Ian Hamilton’s The Scottish Banker of Surabaya – Summer gets me thinking about mysteries, and I’ve borrowed this on a whim from the library, but I’ve only read a hundred pages, and I’ve stalled. This would be my fifth Ava Lee mystery, but I might turn my attention to another series instead.

Karen Molson’s The Company of Crows – A first novel, with a lovely first sentence: “This grey lines fan out across the earthscape like a gigantic, tattered spiderweb.” She’s bookish, she’s thirteen, and she’s growing up in Laughing Willows Trailer Park. And there are crows. I don’t need to know more. This is one of those reading experiences, which I feel, almost immediately, is going to be a favourite.

Susan Philpott’s Dark Territory. Readers met Signy Shepherd in Blown Red, the first in a mystery series centred around The Line, an underground-railroad type of rescue operation for women threatened or attacked. The second in the series is just as compelling. (And some snowy bits make for nice contrast when reading in summer heat!) I’m spinning out the first half, because when I got halfway into the first volume, I simply couldn’t put it down until I had finished it.

Malcolm Sutton’s Job Shadowing – “As we hang on through each plausible yet impossible turn, the parllel worlds Malcolm Sutton effortlessly creates pull us ever closer to the underlying currents and desires that make the personal political, then twist back around to become deeply personal once again.” (So says Jacob Wren, who wrote Polyamorus Love Song) This isn’t exactly a comfortable read, but it sure gets me thinking!

Jill Sexsmith’s Somewhere a Long and Happy Life Probably Awaits You – I’ve annoyed everyone in hearing distance while reading this collection, constantly reading aloud “just this sentence”. (But there are so many awesome sentences. And paragraphs.) Maybe if I was reading in a burst, her style would wear on me, but parcelled out, over a couple of weeks, I have found them just wonderful.

Paul Quarrington’s King Leary – He’s positively offensive at times (much of the time, actually), but also wholly credible. This has been on my TBR for years, and now I’m enjoying just a couple of chapters each day: enough to make me smirk!

Tracy Barone’s Happy Family – Beginning with a highly dramatic opening scene in 1962, the story spills forth into other narratives and the author’s screen-writing experience is evident immediately. Readers need to be prepared to set aside perspectives almost as quickly as they’ve settled into them, but there is a strong promise of resolution as the story grows in complexity.

Frank Viva’s Sea Change – Unexpectedly funny, whereas the dark colour palette led me to expect a more sombre coming-of-age story. It’s perfect for summer reading, as the story of a boy sent to the Maritimes for a holiday, and I’ve stopped to read a passage aloud three times in just four short chapters. This bodes well!

How about you? How about your stack? How about your someday-stack?