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What We’re Reading

Dan DeSanto works as a staff member in the Bailey/Howe Information and Instruction department. He shared some picks from his summer reading list.

Dan says, “Granted, I’ll probably do what I do every year and read three New Yorkers and half of a novel, but with better intentions, I give you my low-brow, not very organized, mildly interesting summer reading list.”

Sea of Poppies cover Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

A few years ago, I read Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, which I absolutely loved. I tend to read a lot of Indian writers, and the things that attract me to Ghosh are the same things that attracted me to (the much better known) Salman Rushdie: multiple story lines woven through generations, the trauma of schism, and fascinating relationships between characters. The book takes place in 1838 Calcutta, and the story revolves around a former slave ship named the Ibis and its new multifarious inhabitants. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I heard it profiled on NPR.

An interactive map at the book’s website let’s you follow the route of the Ibis and mark your own location.

Street Gang cover Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis

I first saw this on the Bailey Howe new book shelf. Since then, I’ve seen it pop up on lists and reviews everywhere. The book covers the history of Jim Henson’s Sesame Street, complete with photos and interviews. A colleague and I were talking about this book and a time in the first season or two of Sesame Street when Oscar the Grouch wasn’t garbage-can-bound; he had legs and the power of locomotion. And then there was the pivotal episode where we all found out that Snuffleupagus wasn’t imaginary and that Big Bird wasn’t delusional. From flipping through it, there seem to be some very interesting sections dedicated to Henson’s decision making process and how those decisions shaped the show we’ve come to know. All this, peppered with tales of cast parties and “more risqué” muppets will hopefully make this an intriguing summer read.

Visit the book’s website, where you can see photo and videos and read and share your memories of Sesame Street.

Golem's Migty Swing cover The Golem’s Mighty Swing by James Sturm

This graphic novel is set in the 1920’s and tells the story of a Jewish baseball team trying to eke out an existence by going town-to-town and taking on the local team. The ball players encounter anti-semitism in every town, during every at-bat. I’ve heard this book-talked a few different times, and the story seems fascinating. From my brief perusal at Google Books, the illustrations also appear to have a sharp eye for subtlety and period detail. This should also be a quick read for those of you looking for plane or beach material.

Read a TIME magazine review.

Dan in stockades

We occasionally let Dan outside the library, but we need to keep a tight watch on him.


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One Response to “What We’re Reading”

  1. Karin Bell Says:

    Oooh…I like your picks! They all look like really fun reads! The Sesame Street one in particular seems like it will bring back all kinds of memories.