The Beginnings of My Summer Reading List (A Hopeful Look Forwards)

11 Mar

March is a very muddy month. It’s a weird, in-between sort of month that marks the halfway point of the semester, and boy oh boy does this next half look long. And the weather has even been mild!

There are, of course, ways to combat malaise, such as beginning to make my summer reading list! It’s a year long adventure that usually ends up with me getting my hopes way up and somehow misguidedly thinking I’ll read 10 large tomes in 4 summer months that always fly by far quicker than March ever will.

I post this here in the hopes you all can chime in with your opinions on these books, and any suggestions you might have. Do share in the comments! (After all, I’ll be posting about what I’ve read–so you oughta have some input!)

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I know. I know. I have no idea how I’ve gotten through four years as a creative writing/gender studies major without reading Jane Eyre either. It wasn’t an intentional omission. I love the Brontes. I even own the book, it is leering at my from my bookshelf as I write. It’s just been perpetually “on my list” of things to read and quite frankly it’s time I read it. Anyhow. I’d love to read this, and revisit Wuthering Heights, which I read at the tender age of 13 and I’m pretty positive I completely misunderstood it. What I’m trying to say is it’s high time I revisit the Brontes and give them a proper read.

2) The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

While I love to make a good Hemingway joke, I have to admit I’ve read woefully little of his works. I’ve been interested in reading this particular book because I spent a month in Spain two years ago–it’s a beautiful country, and my love of modernist expatriates makes this book stand out for me amongst all his other works (which do have a lot of expatriates in them, but you get it). I hardly know enough about Spain to say I could totally relate to Hemingway, but I’d love to read his take on things. I promise it’s not because there’ve been a number of books and movies recently dealing with Hemingway, (he’s in vogue right now apparently)–he, like the Brontes, has been on my list for a long time!

3) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Long time Better Know a Book readers will hopefully remember that I do love Marilynne Robinson, but I have never read Gilead, which is a real shame. It’s another book that sits up on my shelf glaring down at me asking, “Why did you even buy me in the first place if you didn’t have time to read me? Ugh.” Fair enough. I’ve heard this book slower, but just as beautiful as Housekeeping, and I hope to find the time to curl up on the beach for a whole day with it sometime.

4) White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is a name I hear all the time, but have never read. I hope to change that this summer. White Teeth is a book that all of my professors rave about, and I’m excited to try it for myself. It follows two wartime buddies struggles in English society, one being an Englishman and the other a Bangladeshi Indian. I know I try to profile classic works on my blog, but hey, I like to throw in more contemporary works like Gilead as well for some variety.

5) Ulysses by James Joyce

I know, I know, don't judge a book by it's cover...but this is a really great cover.

I’ve had ambivalent feelings about James Joyce since high school. I loved Dubliners, I loathed Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. But I’ve been told Ulysses could redeem Joyce fully. It wouldn’t be a book I attempt lightly–it’s long and difficult and chock full of allusions, metaphors, connections, and the like, but it’s a dream I do hope to fulfill sooner rather than later. It seems like the sort of book you need to read at least once, even if you don’t fully understand it. I’d like to rise to the challenge.

It’s a start, but a good start, I think. My dear readers, do give suggestions/recommendations/your own reading lists in the comments!

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7 Responses to “The Beginnings of My Summer Reading List (A Hopeful Look Forwards)”

  1. johnlevimasuli March 12, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    Good luck to your Ulysses adventure. The mere size of that tome and the very nature of Joyce’s writing is like leprosy in my shelf. I can’t even touch the damn thing. Haha.

  2. manonmona March 12, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Reblogged this on Espacio de MANON.

  3. gabrj March 12, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Jane Eyre has always been my favorite book. It’s much better than Wuthering Heights. I think I may need to add some of your books to my list as well! I can relate to having an extensive reading list that always seems to get compromised. I fear I’ll be stuck taking summer classes this year rather than reading, but I can hope to get through at least a few books.

    • Better Know A Book March 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Well then this just makes me all the more excited to read Jane Eyre then! I do wonder how I’ll like Wuthering Heights after so many years have gone by. And yes, do let me know what you read and what you think of it!

      • gabrj March 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

        Will do! I think I need to re-read Wuthering Heights as well. It’s been a very long time!

  4. Siri Paulson March 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Ulysses is HARD, and chock-full of allusions to the Ireland of the period, to Catholicism, etc. I read it alongside a comprehensive guide to the book, then discussed it in class. But it’s also rewarding, and since you’re a current university student steeped in literature and literary thought, it shouldn’t be impossible — you’ll recognize some of the writing styles Joyce uses, for example. You might just want to accept that some of the sections won’t make a lot of sense, and hang in there until you get to the ones that do. 🙂

    Jane Eyre is on my to-read shelf, too.

    • Better Know A Book March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks! I’m nervous but also excited to try it. Thankfully I have many friends who have read/wrote about Ulysses, so hopefully they can help me through it as well. I’ll hang in there for sure!

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