Summer Reading List 2021

Each spring, I prepare a little summer reading list that usually guides my reading while I’m in Greece and Cyprus. Because our work schedule there frequently includes a short siesta, I usually have time for some reading every day. 

I usually record my summer reading lists here. They’re largely aspirational: 2020,  20192018, 20172016201520142013, and 2011.

I won’t be going to Cyprus or Greece this summer (and didn’t go last summer) and will probably not take many afternoon naps, so I expect that I won’t have as much time to read fiction, but I want to read at least one or two novels this summer and churn through some poetry and short stories and perhaps some other fun reading. 

In any event, here’s my ideas for this summer. 

Right now, I have three books cued up on my iPad: Kara Keeling, Queer Times, Black Futures (2019), Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness (1993), and Alexander G. Weheliye, Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity (2005).

Related to these titles and in GLORIOUS paper are Graham Lock’s classic Blutopia: Visions fo the Future and Revisions of the Past in the Work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton (1999), Algernon Austin’s Achieving Blackness: Race, Black Nationalism, and Afrocentrism in the Twentieth Century (2006), Jacob S. Dorman’s Chosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions (2013), and Stephen Howe’s Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes (1998).

I have some big books with BIG IDEAS that I want to navigate his summer, but we’ll see how it goes. First, I want to read George E. Lewis, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (2009). It’s long. As I noted last Thursday, I want to read Walter Scheidel, Escape from Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity (2019), which is also long. In a perfect world, I’d also read Richard Iton’s In Search of the Black Fantastic: Politics and Popular Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era (2008), which is 400+ pages and dense with ideas.

It won’t be all work and no fun reading, of course. I want make my way through Amiri Baraka’s and Larry Neal’s Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing (1968) and Sun Ra, The Immeasurable Equation: the Collected Poetry and Prose (2005).

I’m also excited to read Arkady Martine’s A Desolation Called Peace (2021), Cynthia Ozick’s Antiquities (2021), and more Renee Gladman.

Of course, there is on the horizon, like an archaeological Death Star, Elena Korka and Joseph L. Rife’s On the Edge of a Roman Port: Excavations at Koutsongila, Kenchreai, 2007-2014. It’ll be Hesperia Supplement 52 and according to the book’s landing page clock in at 1368 pages, 733 figures, 49 tables!! It will be $150. 

Obviously, this reading list is hopelessly optimistic, but just reading it brings me profound happiness. I can’t wait to start digging in!

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