Though it’s Memorial Day, summer officially doesn’t start for me until Monday, June 28th at 3 pm. Until then, I will still have papers to grade and lessons to plan, therefore unable to completely devote my time to the greatness that is summer, obviously including summer reading. And even though I will be avidly reading up until then, there is something I love about planning my summer reading. Each year, though, I seem to make big plans and then books fall in my lap and the plans change–which is probably good for me, even though I have this grand vision that my summer can look like a literature class. I found an old post about my summer reading self–and it was interesting to get a glimpse into myself as a reader from a few years ago…I may have to re-imagine it at the end of this summer and see how I’ve changed.
This is random, but did you used to do the summer reading programs with your local library? I just had a major flashback to the Candy Land-style boards that the Centerville Library used to provide for children and we’d get a stamp for each book we read, winding our way down the paper path and filled with a sense of accomplishment. My mom would take my brother and I to the library once a week to update our reading piles and our stamps. I forgot all about that. I think i would like a poster with a stamp per book.
Anyway. Here’s my brainstorming session of the books I’m thinking about adding to my list this summer:
The New Literary History of America. This anthology takes the reader through American history via literature. I am so fascinated by history and the way that it is portrayed through books, that I have been thinking about this book ever since I first stumbled across it in the winter. $50 at most stores, it is an investment, but has such potential. I could probably carry this one book around with me all summer. Well, I mean that this could be my daytime reading book and then I could read fiction before I go to sleep each night. Downside=I’m travelling for the entire summer, so do I really want to carry around this brick? Should I relegate it to fall reading?
Mystery. I seriously love mystery stories. Much like R&B, I forgot my love in high school and college. My love of crime procedurals like The Closer was what motivated me to pick up the literary genre, which was limited to Nancy Drew in elementary and Mary Higgins Clark in middle school. Mystery books might be the most engaging genre, and then when they are well written? Swoon. Recent loves: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. Summer picks: Continuing with Steign Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire. Also, in true Brooklyn style, one of my neighbors had books for free in our lobby, one of which was The Likeness, the follow up to In The Woods by Tana French, which has been on my list for quite a while.
Nonfiction: Sloane Crosby’s newest book of essays, How Did You Get This Number. I laughed out loud so much in her first book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, and this one has come highly recommended as well. Also, last summer The Shock Doctrine completely rocked my world. I have another book by Naomi Klein, No Logo, sitting on my night stand (which is really a radiator. whatever.).
Rereads: Sometimes books just call to me and I need to pick them back up. These two couldn’t be more different: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (though I may cave and read this pre-summer) and The Waves by Virginia Woolf. I read 8 of Woolf’s books in a class in college and haven’t picked her up since. The Waves completely floored me at the time and I am curious to see what I think of it now.
Fiction. I am pretty obsessed with Roberto Bolano (I fell in love with Amulet a few years ago and my book club read The Savage Detectives last summer). A lot of his books have been recently translated and I’ve been looking at a few for months, The Skating Rink and The Last Evenings on Earth, especially.
Randoms include The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Suite Francaise by Irene Namirovsky, along with 3 different books every time I walk into a bookshop.
So. I’m game for recommendations. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes.
Previous summer reading posts (for those of you who are extremely bored or just looking for ideas) can be found here and here and here. And also here and here and here. It’s interesting to see the books that have shown up multiple times because I want to reread them and the books that show up as perpetual sitters on my stack of books to read next.