At Poets & Writers, Sarah Gerard, author of True Love, offers a suggestion for a small act of creation that can set your mind in order during moments of turmoil. “To reanimate my practice, get out of a turbid state, I reach into the deepest corner of my hard drive to extract the oldest piece of unpolished ore—the earliest unfinished essay or short story I can find,” Gerard says. “I look for something that represents my most elemental attempt at self-expression. This is especially rewarding in the middle of a long project, such as a novel, when it’s necessary for a short period to emerge from underground and clear my mind. I give myself the task of finishing something in a short period of time: a day, at most a week. It’s easier if I have a ready-made starting place, like a rough draft.”
Yes, but what’s everyone else reading this summer? Bookstores in beach towns know better than to stock “business, personal finance, or diet” books–though poetry does pretty well–but they are looking forward to these bestsellers. The print-disinclined can take heart that there are even a fair number of literary movies coming out soon. (Related: our own recommended summer reading list, also blessedly personal finance-free.)
“Joseph K., that icon of single-lettered anonymity from Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial,” writes Tom Engelhardt for Guernica, “would undoubtedly have felt right at home in [James] Clapper’s Washington.”
Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, a billionaire, a philanthropist, and an amateur book club leader. He posted his summer reading list on his website, The Gates Notes. You won’t find any beach reads because Gates prefers nonfiction such as However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls and The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?. You can read the latter along with him.