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Going Greene: Summer Reading 2017

I’m a big reader.

I usually have two books going at the same same time: One paper, one Kindle.

I read at the very end of my day, usually for an hour. About 30 minutes with the lights on, then, when my wife tells me to turn the light, I do…but then open my Kindle book, turn the brightness down, and keep going until I’m tired.

Now, this doesn’t mean I read many books per year. I don’t read fast. My wife can finish a book in a week. Not me. Takes me a while. Maybe it’s the way I read, maybe it’s the books I read. Dunno.

Since summer reading lists are popular now, and since it’s summer (to me) since it’s after Memorial Day, here’s what I’ll be diving into this year:

In paper:

I Don’t Want To Go To Jail – Jimmy Breslin

The Tin Roof Blowdown – James Lee Burke

The Confidential Agent – Graham Greene

The Man Within – Graham Greene

Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

Kiss of Death – Eleazar Lipsky

On Kindle:

The Man Who Would Be King – John Ripin Miller

The Last Moriarty  Charles Veley


A few notes on this list:

I get many of my books in the bargain bin aisle of the library, or rent from the library. In fact, I have a few books on my “to be read” list that I want to get from the library so they aren’t here.

I used to love reading Jimmy Breslin. Since he passed away earlier this year, I want to revisit some of his work. I think I have Table Money in my basement, and if I do, I’ll add that to the list.

I read Graham Greene’s Ministry of Fear while in Mexico back in February. It reminded me how much I like Graham Greene, so I actively sought out some titles by him. I’ve done “A Summer of (Mickey) Spillane” and “A Summer of James M. Cain” – this will be my “Summer of Greene”.  I started Confidential Agent last evening. It’ll be a Greene summer.

I love how James Lee Burke writes. Lush, full of atmosphere and description. Had to pick something up by him for the summer. Again, 50 cents from the local library bargain bin. If you’ve never read Burke, and want something new this summer, look for one of his books. Think you’ll enjoy it.

Know how when you get a new car, suddenly you start to see that color everywhere? It seems like the name “Greg Iles” has been popping up in my face all over the place. So I picked up Natchez Burning. It’s the middle book, I think, of the his triology about this character so I hope I can figure it out. It’s also a daunting size. I hope I can get through it. By Christmas.

Eleazar Lipsky was a New York prosecutor. And still found time to write.

David Foster Wallace…never read him. Picked the book up at a Little Free Library in Princeton.

Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, each month they offer you a free e-book to choose. That’s where I got The Last Moriarty and The Man Who Could Be King. So, I’ll give them a shot. Starting The Man Who Could Be King – since it’s about Washington and the Revolutionary War – tonight. Want to be deep into it prior to the 4th of July.

Now, I’m not promising I’ll finish all these. I’m a firm believer in, if a book ain’t working for you, close it and start another. I wasn’t always that way. I’ve tried to power through many a book I didn’t dig. Not anymore. Just this week, I closed The Five Red Herrings. Maybe not for good, but for now anyway.

That said, I’m still trying to get through Moby Dick. It’s been open for a few months now. I can’t say it’s a great read, at least to me. Some good passages, but overall it’s a tough one for me.

And then there is all the short stories and such that I’ll read in New Yorker, Esquire, Shotgun Honey, and that friends of mine will post or mention. I’m a big short story fan.

If you want to follow along with my literary adventure, check me out on Good Reads.

So, anything special on your summer reading list? Pop it in the comments below!


Oh, speaking of writing and writers…..this piece of bad news came in yesterday:


The “Dennis” in question is author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island, The Drop, Gone Baby Gone). He’s the keynote speaker at a writer’s conference in New Brunswick, just up the turnpike from me, this weekend. I reached out to his people to see if I could get 15 minutes (max!) with him to do a portrait. I even mentioned how we share the same binding: He’s in TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND: Crime Fiction Based on The Songs of Bruce Springsteen, and so am I!

Alas, got shut out. Got to keep getting out there and trying though!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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