That's not totally accurate. I did read a couple summer-type books so far. I enjoyed this one:
It's not great literature, but it is well-written and it kept me reading. Then I dove into this one:
Once again, I hate a book that almost everyone else liked -- or even loved! I thought the plot was dull, the main character was dull, the whole thing was dull. Worse, I felt it was quite a white-washing of daily life in the Soviet Union. Only highly placed party officials lived and ate like the main character.
And I am all about history. Next, I tried these two:
I am completely baffled by the success of The Friend. Boring! I didn't get very far. But I did like 1917, which looked at that era through the lens of Lenin and President Wilson. The author is clearly a Republican and made some opinionated remarks I disagreed with, but I'm OK with that as long as the facts are straight and the author is honest about their politics.
I recently finished Stranger From Abroad, which is about philosopher Hannah Arendt, who is one of my idols. Unlike the books she writes, it is very readable.
Secondhand Time and Between East and West are about Eastern Europe. (Note: Hannah Arendt grew up in the Eastern European city of Konigsberg, now Kaliningrad, which is part of Russia.) Why this fixation on Eastern Europe?
I'm going back! A week from today I fly to Riga, Latvia. I'll be splitting my time between Riga and Vilnius, which is in Lithuania. My grandfather had some memories of the Old Country -- Lithuania -- so I've always wanted to visit. He was from Taurage, but I'm not going there. It's off the beaten trail -- and there is nothing left of the Jewish shtetl. There is little enough in Vilnius, but at least there is something.
Riga and Vilnius are incredibly gorgeous, so I'm excited about seeing them and drawing them! I am going alone so I can geek out on art and history without worrying about inconveniencing anyone else.