As the official television season winds down, I’m preparing to get my summer reading groove on with a long list of books that I’ve collected over the broadcast television year. Given that I intend to keep up with my summer TV schedule, summer movie schedule, and see a few music concerts or three (Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, and NKOTB; Boyz II Men: 98 Degrees’ The Package I’m talkin’ ‘bout YOU) I’ll be hard pressed to zip through even a fraction of the titles on my list.
Still, my brain needs some literary treats and so I’m determined to knock off as many as I can before the September deluge of new TV content overwhelms me again. Below are my top books to read for this summer. That they relate in some ways to TV or movies is not purely coincidental.
1. The Great Gatsby. With Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby lushily and colorful making it’s way into theater’s this coming Friday, revisiting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic doesn’t seem like a bad way to start the summer. I read this book eons ago when I was in high school, liked it, and then promptly forgot it as I plugged on to the next title on my school reading list. Being older, faster at reading, and with a larger vocabulary, I have no doubt that I’ll get more out of the book this time, especially with imagining Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby with Carey Mulligan as his Daisy
2. Elmore Leonard’s Raylan. With the fifth season of Justified over six months away, I can get a nice Raylan Givens fix with Leonard’s latest novel. While Givens was already the center of two novels and a short story before Timothy Olyphant took up the Stetson on Justified, what makes Raylan a treat is that Leonard’s incorporated a bit more of the Justified Raylan into the book Raylan. Some of the show characters are involved in a new adventure in Harlan County for show lovers and book lovers alike. Or mostly new since Raylan came out in 2012. I told you, I’m playing catch-up with this book list!
3. I’m a sucker for history, especially television history, and between The Revolution Was Televised, (by Hitfix.com’s TV critic Alan Sepinwall) and TV on Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet (by Cynthia Littleton) I’m sure to get my fill. With Televised, Sepinwall takes us through the most recent golden age of television and discusses how shows like The Sopranos, Buffy, Lost, and others heralded in a whole new level of television that we’re enjoying the benefits of even now. TV on Strike details the 2007 writers strike: what they were fighting for, why, and how in conjunction with the recession and changes in social media it had a dramatic impact on television and the web that’s still playing out today.
4. My next pick, Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, is less a book based on a show and more a book that inspired one of my favorite shows, CBS’s Person of Interest. POI has continually straddled the line between drama and science-fiction in regards to its central character, The Machine, a highly advanced program created to suss out bad things before they happen. Well, in season two’s penultimate episode we got a surprise: the Machine spoke. (As in called up the heroes to ask in a disturbing cobbling of voice clips ‘Can you hear me?’) The only thing to make that last line more chilling would’ve been to have the famous music sting from Terminator play before fading to black. With POI’s season two cliffhanger approaching, I think good ole Issac’s classic would be a great summer read to bridge the gap between seasons in preparation of the apparent rise of Skynet The Machine.
5. As I’m enjoying NBC’s Hannibal so much, I’m considering doing a reread of all the Thomas Harris novels involving the diabolical serial killer (Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal) to see what Bryan Fuller has tweaked and prime myself to spot the planted easter eggs in (hopefully) season two. Another reread I’m anticipating and dreading is books three and four of George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire, aka A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows. Anticipating because those books are always great reads and dreading for reasons I can’t get into because it would involve a visit to spoiler city. To paraphrase Martin Lawrence’s famous line from Bad Boys: ‘This stuff just got real!’ I expect to see a LOT of people reading A Storm of Swords on the subway and on the lawn in Central Park this summer as non-book readers will not be able to wait a year for season four of Game of Thrones.
The Great Gatsby
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
The Star Trek Into Darkness Novelization