Every year since this blog’s inception I have committed part of June and July to Independence-Day reading. The number and variety of the books has grown every year, and usually includes material on the colonial period, the revolution, and the early Republic. This is an election year, however, a season full of rancor and ambition. Politics is so pervasive that I want to get away from it, so this year I am tacking a course away from that bitter port. Instead of war and debate, the last week of June and early July will instead be a period of American literature — of revisiting or learning anew American stories. I had also planned to seek refuge in books on small-town America, reading Bill Bryson’s tour of backroads and visiting Wendell Berry’s Port William again, but that will wait until the TBR hits five or less. Expect Willa Cather, Mark Twain, and Jack London.