Seeing as everyone and her sister is writing a summer reading list—and because this is the first time in a long time that I’ve actually planned out my reading—I thought I’d give you a peek at the books that will be crowding my nightstand for the next few weeks.
I never understood why one’s reading had to change simply because the weather is warmer. There’s this mistaken notion that “summer reading” (apart from school assignments) means light, fluffy books that you’re half-ashamed to be reading in the first place. Not so with me. If I’m going to read, I want something that will “knock the soot off my brain,” as the great Ray Bradbury once wrote. This summer promises to be exciting, as least where reading is concerned.
1: War in Heaven by Charles Williams
My first completed book this summer. You can read my review of it here. I chose this book as my introduction to Williams, hoping for something that was insightful while also being profoundly original. I wasn’t disappointed on either count. Also, its plot centers around the legends of the Holy Grail, which I thought might be good preparation for the second book on my list.
2: Pendragon’s Heir by Suzannah Rowntree
As a person who knows almost nothing about Arthurian myth that doesn’t come from Robert Taylor movies, I’m excited to see what happens in this novel. I’ve followed the author’s book review blog Vintage Novels for some time now and not only has she trained under some of the greatest authors in the world, but she also has a very clear idea of what it means to be a diligent, purposeful artist. I started on this book shortly after finishing War in Heaven and with any luck, I’ll have a review for this one too when I finish.
3: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Just to refresh my memory before I read its sequel this July. 😀
4: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Words fail to describe how excited I am about this book. Will it be as good as To Kill a Mockingbird? Probably not (that is a hard act to follow, after all). Will Atticus prove to be a racist? Possibly. Will he die before the book is over, leaving me to grieve yet another fictional character gone too soon? Likely. But nevertheless, I plan to read this book this just as soon as I can get my hands on it. I’ve waited far too long for a new Harper Lee to let the naysayers talk me out of it.
5: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Despite my professed love for Ray Bradbury, science fiction is not my most favorite genre in the world. I don’t dislike it, but I often wished that Bradbury would write something using the same inimitable style and voice we see in his science fiction, but in a more worldly setting. Dandelion Wine appears to be that book. 🙂
6: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
I’ve been promising myself for well over a year that I would read this. I’m not sure why I haven’t yet. Between the luxuriant language, the incisive commentary on human nature, and Wilde’s famous wit, what’s not to love? Also, I just bought a new leather-bound copy of it with a beautiful cover, which my sister tells me is a fitting metaphor for Dorian Gray himself: attractive on the outside, but dark and creepy on the inside. I can’t wait.
Before the summer’s over, I may also try Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (the follow-up to Dandelion Wine) and G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. Of course, summer is only three months long, even in Louisiana, where it seems infinitely longer. But there’s always fall. 🙂
Image by Bonnybbx