D.M. Thomas

Summer Reading Lists - Mary Ruefle

This is the fifth in our series of 2017 Vermont Book Award finalists' summer reading lists.

Mary Ruefle

Mary Ruefle


Welcome to another installment of our summer reading list series. Today's list is from Mary Ruefle, whose latest book, My Private Property (Wave Books, 2016) is a collection of prose in varied forms--prose poetry, flash fiction, lyric essay, memoir, philosophy, and more--addressing topics that range from the microscopic details of life to more macroscopic concerns like time and memory. Stephanie Pushaw, in the Los Angeles Review of Books, says that Ruefle's book "offers surprise and communion on each page -- that exhilaration one finds when . . . a thought or phrase appears so familiar to us that for a moment we wonder if it is reading our mind."

Thank you for sharing your generous list with us, Mary!

Mary Ruefle's Summer Reading List



The White Hotel by D.M Thomas was an international sensation when it was first published in 1981. It has taken me thirty-five years to come round to it, and I was completely stunned by it, overwhelmed really--I loved it.


I don't really believe in reading books recommended by another unless they know you very, very well; there are so many great books in the world, something for everyone, that I do not understand the inability to choose for oneself. That said, if you haven't read James Baldwin, do so immediately! Ditto for Japanese novels, try Murakami or Kawabata.


And in the summer, I like to read books set in the deepest snow--I look forward to reading the sixth and final volume of My Struggle by the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard and pray it is released before September, though I will be sad to end the saga, a more recent international sensation.


For those of you who find the Bible and/or the historical figure of Jesus irrelevant, I recommend The Parables of Jesus & The Problems Of The Modern World by Richard Q. Ford.


For those interested in art and politics, read the Essays of Wallace Shawn, they are delightful and intelligent.