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Summer Reading List Part 2, or More Books I’m Embarrassed to Not Have Read Yet.

26 Mar

Thanks for all of the feedback you guys gave on my last summer reading list post! It’s been wonderful to hear your recommendations and suggestions, so keep’em coming! I thought of a few more I’d like to share with you all, even more books I’m just so embarrassed that I haven’t gotten to yet. I hope to have a productive summer full of reading.

Do feel free to comment below on all of them/laugh at my limited literary knowledge!

1) Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

You’re probably thinking, doesn’t everyone have to read that in high school? How has she not read that? I’m with you there. I suspect I never got around to it because this was the book all the snobby guys were into, and I really need to be over that now. The fact is, Vonnegut is so important, especially for  fiction today. Vonnegut is an important short story and satire writer, and it’s high time I read this classic.

2) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hear me out. These books are flying off the shelves like hotcakes (I’m pretty sure the phenomenon around this YA series is pretty much the definition of hotcakes), and you all know I love a good book with a strong heroine in it. Seriously though, this seems like the sort of series I would have loved to have had as a teenager. Dystopian future, strong heroine with a bow and arrow, strategy games, the works. It’s the first new YA series I’ve been excited about since I was about fifteen, which I think says a lot. So I’m going to read the series, and I’m really looking forward to it.

3) Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Better Know a Book veterans will note that I do love the modernists. I love modernism, I love the 1920s, and I love the writers who made it happen, as well as the crazy group of people they all hung around with. One of the modernists I’ve read the least of, however, is Fitzgerald. I read The Great Gatsby, of course, but nothing else. This seemed like an interesting next step, and it was inspired by his difficult, turbulent-at-best relationship with his eccentric wife, Zelda (eccentric is a euphemism there, for the record). Hence, I hope to curl up with this tome on a beach somewhere real, real soon.

4) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Another book I’m embarrassed to never have read. Atwood is a writer that I greatly admire, and am constantly wishing I was reading more of. I saw her speak at my college’s commencement a few years ago, and that just cemented my adoration for her. The Handmaid’s Tale seems like a book I’d greatly admire, and would actually be great to juxtapose alongside The Hunger Games–both dystopian novels heavily featuring female leads. I’m excited to finally pull this one off the shelf this summer, for sure.


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!