When you spend nearly eight hours a day for seven straight days poring over (not particularly) advanced placement essays, you need some news and color. So the AP/College Board/ETS people kindly provided us with daily news on neon-colored pages. Among the events arranged to entertain and educate us: a reading by poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan. Sample her work here and here.

I confess that I didn’t attend her reading, but people who did said they enjoyed it.

Another souvenir of the AP-lit week: “A Highly Idiosyncratic Book List for Summer Reading,” compiled by Erica Jacobs (possibly the same Erica Jacobs who wrote this column?) Two in particular that appeal to me–

Digging for America, by Anne Tyler—I sort of have to be the mood for an Anne Tyler novel, but when I am, it’s always a good experience.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini—said to be even better than his first, semi-autobiographical novel, The Kite Runner, which I liked very much, and would also recommend. (Speaking of kite-runners, we watched a Bollywood movie not long ago with a kite-fighting scene/song in it, which reminded me of that novel–just the scene, nothing else in the movie.)

On my hotel roomie’s recommendation, I picked up Blindness, by Jose Saramago. Sounds harrowing, but I’ll get to it eventually.