Summer Books in my Beach Bag

Many thanks to Nancy who tactfully reminded me that summer is quickly approaching and it is in my best interests to have some books lined-up to maintain a focus that has been disturbingly absent so far this year.  So with a new resolution in mind to be more organized, here are some of my possible reads for a summer that in my part of the world, looks like it’s going to pass us by.

Shadow of the Moon


Cirtnecce suggested a read-along of this wonderful M.M. Kaye book and how could I resist?  I haven’t read any of Kaye’s novels in ages and summer is just the right time.

The Gormenghast Trilogy

I suggested a read-along of The Gormenghast Trilogy to Cirtnecce ages ago, as I know it’s on one of her book lists.  Will she join me?  We shall see.

The Fountain Pit

I really need to read some more novels for my rather pitiful Russian Challenge.  This one has intrigued me for a couple of years.  I can’t wait to read it.

Plutarch’s Lives

I know this book is part of my The Well-Educated Mind History Project, but I want to get a start on it because I plan to go more in-depth and hopefully post a little on each figure. At least, I think I do.

An Infamous Army

Lately, I’ve been trying to target some books on my Guardians 1000 List.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps an impulsive scramble to look like I’m accomplishing something.  I quite like Georgette Heyer, so this one is a good choice.

Precious Bane

Honestly, this one is a capricious addition.  I have no idea whether I’ll read it, but it’s always intrigued me.  And summer is an excellent time to be capricious, wouldn’t you say?

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Another addition for my Russian Challenge.  I’ve heard good things about this novella and I’m looking forward to it.

The Game of Kings

Has anyone ever thought that I’m delusional?  Well, this is proof.  I’m sure I will NEVER get to this book before summer has ended, but I still dream that I might ……

And here ends perhaps hopefully my possible, potentially unplanned but feasible reads for the summer of 2017.  Dare I look back at the end to see what I accomplished?  Might I get someone to do it for me?  Maybe …………  Ha ha!

Happy summer reading everyone!

A Top Ten Summer ~ Which Books?

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in awhile AND I haven’t posted in awhile, so today is the perfect day to do both.  The Broke and the Bookish are asking us what books we will be putting in our beach bags this summer.  Usually this question would be a breeze for me, but I’ve been so stunned by The Faerie Queene, mentally I don’t seem to be able to get past it.  Soooooo, I’ll list some of the books I’m reading at the present and then try to add others that might appeal to a summer reading schedule.

1.

The Faerie Queene

I love and dread this work at the same time.  Right now, I’m in a rut with hardly any time to give it the needed attention but I intend to plug along and finish at some point.

2.

Jane Eyre

Hamlette’s read-along of this great classic has just begun.  The pace is very measured and allows the participant to really dig deep into the text.  Lots of summer fun!

3.

The Gulag Archipelago

The final book of my The Well-Educated Mind Biographies project.  Do I read the complete book or an abridged work?  I can’t decide!

4.

Framley Parsonage

Argh!  I’ve been trying to get through my read of the Barsetshire Chronicles for two years!  I stalled on this book (#4), but I started it again recently and was more engaged with it.  I hope to say that I’ve finished it by the end of the summer.

5.

The Home and the World

I believe that I’m reading this with Cirtnecce to commemorate India Independence Day (Aug 15th), if I’m not mistaken.

6.

Don Quixote

I’m reading this with Bookstooge on Booklikes beginning in the month of August.  This will be a re-read for me and I’m looking forward to it.  August seems like it will be the only relaxing month for me this summer.

7.

The Histories 

I add this one to the list with a heavy heart.  I am dying to read it, but really, do I realistically think I’m going to be able to get to it with all the other books that I’m reading?  I doubt it.  But hope always springs eternal with me and …… well, I just might get to it.

8.

Henry V

My Shakespeare challenge has been a pitiful failure so far.  I’m embarrassed.  So I’m determined to read at least one Shakespeare this summer.  If I can get Henry V read, I will have completed the Henriad!

9.

A Doll’s House

Another read with Cirtnecce.  At least it’s short.  I’m looking forward to it.

10.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes

A wild card choice.  Why not?  It sounds relaxing and not too mentally taxing.  Just what the doctor ordered!

Summer ~~ Books in my Bag

Source: Library of Congress

Yikes!  This is the longest that I’ve been AWOL since I started this blog.  I’ve been so busy in the month of June that I haven’t had time to read, let alone to blog.  And to top it off, I was bitten by the writing bug, so I’ve been letting whatever is inside my head, come out.  This can be a little scary.  Needless to say, this is not my usual modus operandi and somewhat disturbing. Fortunately, the busyness continues only until mid-July, but then ends (Yippee!!) and I can hopefully get back to normal — or as normal as I get.  Ha ha!

Soooo, as for the books that I have planned to read for summer ……..  I have a number that I have to finish up, from anywhere from a month ago, to a year ago.  I’ll be focussing on:

What is to Be Done?:  Chernyshevsky’s classic novel and response to Turgenev’s Father’s and Sons, advocating a socialist model through radicalism and social education.  I still have to get to Notes from the Underground by Dostoyevsky, which is his response to Chernyshevsky.

Gone With the Wind:  for Corinne’s read-along which, of course, has already ended.  I was enjoying the book so far, so I want to finish it.

The Essays of Montaigne:  I still have to finish up the recommended essays and I have one more blog post to compile.  I love Montaigne so this won’t be a chore.

Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories:  I’ve read about ⅓ of this and love it. But I have to finish it.  This summer for sure.

The History of Napoleon Buonaparte:  I love this book and I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to finish.  This biography was written no more than 10 years after Napoleon’s death —- a very valuable viewpoint.

The Terror:  a nice gift from my blog friend, Andrea.  I read half last summer and I want to finish it this summer.

On the Coast at Trouville (1881)
Claude Monet
source Wikiart

Series and Challenges:

Framley Parsonage:  How embarrassing.  I really, really need to keep on reading The Barsetshire Chronicles.  I’m enjoying them, I’ve just stalled.  Such is life.

Sense and Sensibility & Pride and Prejudice:  I need to get moving on my Austen Project.

Up From Slavery:  I’ve started this one and it’s my favourite so far of the slave narratives.  For my WEM Project

Ecce Homo:  Another book from my WEM list.  I’m not sure how I feel about this one.

The Canterbury Tales and The Brubury Tales Project:  I really should get started on this if I want to finish it by the end of the year.

My Challenges: 

Classics Club List:  there doesn’t seem to be as many Classic Club Spins lately, so I’m going to choose a book from my list, as I think I’m dragging behind a little.  I’m going to take The Histories by Herodotus which is supposed to be a fun read (no, that’s not a joke.  I’m serious.)

My Shakespeare Project:  perhaps Henry V which I didn’t get around to reading for my reading of the Henriad.

Guardians 1000 List:  yes, the never-ending list that I won’t finish before I die. For this, I was thinking of reading A Confederacy of Dunces.  If anyone wants to take a quick look at the list, I’m open to recommendations!

Deal Me In Challenge:  Yipes!  I’m so behind.  I need to try to catch up at least a little.

California Coast
Albert Bierstadt
source Wikiart

Should I Or Shouldn’t I?:

Ulysses:  I started this rather thick book, but I really dislike it.  Joyce is a pretentious, annoying …. grumble, grumble, grumble.  Well, enough said. Should I finish because I started?  Because I was silly enough to include this book in my TBR Pile Challenge?  I haven’t decided yet.

The Lord of the Rings:  I often choose to read this in the summer and I haven’t read it for about 4 years, but do I have too many other books going on?   Or do I throw caution to the winds?

Ovid’s Metamorphoses:  I have included this book in my reading list for the past two years and I just can’t seem to get into it.  I was going to delve into it this summer but somehow it doesn’t seem like a summer book.  Hmmm ……

Sanary Landscape (1937)
Moise Kisling
source Wikiart

I was going to list a few new books that I wanted to read, but you know what? I’m not even going to go there.  I have way too many listed already and I know I won’t read them all, but at least this post will give me some focus for summer.

In any case, I hope you all are having a great summer so far and are getting lots of reading in.  I just wanted you to know that I haven’t left forever and I should be back fairly soon!  À bientôt!

Preparing for Summer – Which Books?

Inspired by Ruth at A Great Book Study, I am going to place aside my fear of having a list or goals to follow, and put together a pile of books that I hope to read during the much anticipated summer months.

Books To Complete:

The Chronicles of Barsetshire: I should be at Framley Parsonage for my Chronicles of Barsetshire Read-Along.  I’m in the middle of Barchester Towers at the moment and I hope to get through Doctor Thorne before summer.  I’m enjoying this series immensely.  Trollope captures the characters beautifully …… all their human faults and foibles as well as their kindnesses.  There is no better introduction to a small English village.

The Saying of the Desert Fathers:  another stalled book that I need to finish.  Not to mention that it’s in my TBR Pile Challenge.  I must admit, I’m not doing very well with this challenge.

Defence Speeches:  and another stalled one.  And another on my TBR Pile Challenge.  I don’t know why I stopped reading this.  I LOVE Cicero’s defence arguments; so logical and crafty!

The Decameron:  a long scheduled read.  Because of its style (a collection of stories), it has been easy to read and keep up with.

The Morte d’Arthur:  I am trying to slog through this.  I don’t know what is the matter with me.  This is a book I should be eating up but I just don’t care for it.  Perhaps it was my bad experience with Once and Future King, which I read prior to starting Le Morte.  Or maybe I haven’t had the attention span to devote to it.  Or perhaps I’ll never become enamoured with it.  In any case, I’m determined to finish it so I will do my best to get through a good portion of it in the summer.

The History of Napoleon Buonaparte:  yet another stalled book.  I really liked reading it; the history was fascinating and the author paints a very real picture of Buonaparte.  Other books just took over.

If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler:  ah, Calvino!  Will I gain an appreciation for your unique style and structure, or will I want to strangle you when I finish?  I guess time will tell ……

Summer Day
Volodymyr Orlovsky
source Wikiart

New Books To Read:

Ovid’s Metamorphoses:  one of my books that I attempted to read last year but didn’t get very far.  I anticipate that I’ll have time in the summer to concentrate on it property.

Russian Thinkers:  This book intrigues me.  By Isaiah Berlin, a Russian-born Jew, a social and political theorist and philosopher, these essays explore Russian thought and the idea of freedom, while exploring the minds of great Russian personages such as Herzen, Tolstoy and Turgenev and the political and social changes that stemmed from their influence.  And I can count it for my Russian Challenge!

Arthurian Romances:  This will count for my Arthurian challenge.  I need to get a move on with this challenge because so far I have only finished Once and Future King.  How shameful!

The Book of Margery Kempe:  for my Well-Educated Mind Biographies Challenge.

Surprised by Joy & A Grief Observed: for my C.S. Lewis Project

Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche & Kafka:  “…. one of the most straightforward and easily understandable introductions to the whole modern experience of existentialism.”  Let’s hope so.  My poor brain can only handle an easy introduction.

The Universe Next Door:  a classic book for understanding the philosophy of different worldviews.  It looks very interesting.

Le Bretonnerie in the Department of Indre
Gustave Courbet (1856)
source Wikiart

For Fun!:  (Ooops! That doesn’t sound good.  Perhaps I should say, “for more fun.”)

The Terror:  I received this book from Andrea from Tasseled Book Blog during her wonderful give-away contest and can’t wait to get to it.  A relaxing day on the beach will be a perfect time to read it!  Thanks, Andrea!

The Little World of Don Camillo:  an Italian classic based on the real life priest Don Camillo Valota.  It is supposed to give an excellent portrayal of the rural Italian countryside after WWII.

Porterhouse Blue:  I bought this book for no particular reason ….. on a whim, really, which is not like me, so I thought I’d see how my rash action turns out.  I am also humming-and-hawing over whether to try to start reading some books on the Guardian’s 1000 best book list.  Porterhouse Blue is on it.

Le Petit Nicolas:  for my Language Freak Summer Challenge

Ausgewählte Märchen:  German fairy tales for my Language Freak Summer Challenge.

Stories of the East From Herodotus:  really, I should just read Herodotus’ Histories but this old children’s book is on my TBR Pile Challenge list and the last thing I need is another tome to read.

Death By Living:  my brother-in-law gave me this book and said I would enjoy it.  I usually trust his judgement but, then again, this book is not a book I’d usually choose to read.  I’m stepping out of my comfort zone!

Summer Landscape with Fishermen
Efim Volkov
source Wikiart

No, I am not delusional.  I don’t expect to finish ALL of these books.  I also can see that if I don’t finish some of my “in progress” books soon, I won’t have time to read any new books, which is good incentive to focus on some unfinished reads before summer begins.  It will be interesting to see my progress at the end of the summer.  I do have one glorious month off, where, if I wanted to, I could read all day long, but I usually end up doing lots of hikes as well.  Last year I read 13 books during the months of July & August so hopefully I can either meet or beat that number.  I can only try!

What are your reading plans for the summer?

An Enthralling Novel (1885)
Julius LeBlanc Stewart
source Wikiart