Summer solstice 1979, Algonquin style

For Week No. 4 of our SummerTime Warp Again, we’ve hit the quintessential Summer moment. It’s like the Summer solstice, Algonquin Books Blog style. It’s the ultimate Summer song. (Keep reading for your Summer² moment.)

Today, we’re going back to the week of July 30, 1979 in our five-week tribute to the books, movies, television shows, and songs that made summer special for five weeks, running from 1976 to 1980.  Share with us your summer “Blast from the Past” favorites — no matter what year it might, from 1900 to 2011. Tell us what you were reading in your memorable summers. By commenting below, you’ll be entered to win your very own Pawley’s Island Rope Hammock. Now there’s a great way to swing into summer reading!


Amityville Horror: This is the original movie, based on the supposedly true story of George Lutz and his family, and it stars James Brolin, Margot Kidder, and Rod Steiger. The stairs collapse. People are frightened. But just how scary was it? Here’s Roger Ebert’s take from his 1979 review: “The problem with The Amityville Horror is that, in a very real sense, there’s nothing there. We watch two hours of people being frightened and dismayed, and we ask ourselves . . . what for?”



Sophie’s Choice by William Styron: Here’s a snippet from novelist and critic John Gardner’s review in The New York Times Book Review:  “Sophie’s Choice is a passionate, courageous book…a philosophical novel on the most important subject of the twentieth century,” said novelist and critic John Gardner in The New York Times Book Review. “One of the reasons Styron succeeds so well in Sophie’s Choice is that, like Shakespeare (I think the comparison is not too grand), Styron knows how to cut away from the darkness of his material, so that when he turns to it again it strikes with increasing force….Sophie’s Choice is a thriller of the highest order, all the more thrilling for the fact that the dark, gloomy secrets we are unearthing one by one–sorting through lies and terrible misunderstandings like a hand groping for a golden nugget in a rattlesnake’s nest–may be authentic secrets of history and our own human nature.”

The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum: Here’s what Kirkus Review had to say on March 1, 1979: “Although advance materials on Ludlum’s new suspense novel were not yet available at press time, its certainty of commercial success warrants advance warning. We can tell you that it involves terrorists, Soviet agents, and the CIA; a happy breather, at least, from this author’s usual preoccupation with nco-Nazis. But, in any case, considering that Ludlum’s two most recent novels, The Chancellor Manuscript and The Holcroft Covenant, were best-sellers despite inane plotting, weak writing, and decidedly mixed notices, the content of this new fantasy probably doesn’t matter much. It will sell. And it will be read–or at least begun–by a lot of people.” Ouch.


“Bad Girls” by Donna Summer: And here it is — the ultimate Summer song.

Bad girls
Talking about the sad girls
Sad girls
Talking about bad girls, yeah




Benson: The butler from Soap gets his own TV show and ends up Lieutenant Governor running for the state’s top job. That’s why we loved Benson. Robert Guillaume was the everyman with the quip, running “the house and the  state.” Click here to watch a little bit of the pilot episode.

One Comment On This Post:

August 2, 2012
5:58 pm
bermudaonion(Kathy) says...

I was a newlywed in the summer of 1979 and remember all of those things! I don’t think I was doing much reading.

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