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

29 thoughts on “Preparing for Summer – Which Books?

  1. I just finished Barchester Towers (I'm behind) and I absolutely loved it. I am smitten with Anthony Trollope's work. I just learned that there is a BBC mini-series of Barchester Towers with Alan Rickman as Mr Slope. I cannot wait to watch it. Wonderful list! You will have a most excellent summer of reading!

  2. Wow! Great list! I, too, am generally wary of making lists for myself, and so I've been avoiding it for this summer. Heh. But if I don't make a list and get myself excited, I may not read as much as I want to. So maybe I will.

  3. I have some of the same titles! Not that you can tell from my pile picture, which was partial. I'm in the middle of If on a winter's night now and I'm enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would.

  4. The Universe Next Door and Death By Living sound interesting. I'll have to check them out.

    So, will you be skipping Confessions and just pick up with Margery Kemp?

    Well, you certainly have a variety here to work with this summer. Have fun!

  5. Ah Kierkegaard. If Kierkegaard's works weren't so darn expensive I would host a Kierkegaard read-along. There is a particular order and a particular way in which his works should be read. But it is very rewarding.

    You have a great list of books there. Good luck!

  6. Well, you can take heart because you're ahead of me in the Trollope read. I'm going to frantically try not to add any more books to my schedule so I can keep on track. I have been trying to resist getting that DVD out of the library until I finish reading the series. I'm not sure if I'll be successful.

    Have a great reading summer too!

  7. I completely understand your avoidance of lists …… I hate making them because either I don't make my original goals and feel badly, or the finished list looks completely different from the one I started with. :-Z But I decided to risk a list for summer! I hope you do too! I'll be interesting in seeing your choices!

  8. Which titles do we have in common, Jean? I'm curious …..

    I am so glad that you are enjoying Calvino's novel. I think I just need focus to concentrate on it, which I don't have now. Summer looks like a good time for it.

  9. Yes, both those books are intriguing. I'm a little intimidated by The Universe Next Door; will I be able to get all the different worldviews straight? And no one seems to be able to agree on the definition of Post Modernism. In any case, it should be enlightening.

    No, I'm in for Confessions, I/We just will have finished it before summer, and will be on to Margery Kempe.

    Thanks, Ruth! 🙂

  10. I didn't know there was a particular order for reading Kierkegaard. I would definitely participate in a read-along like that! Just so you know, for the future …… 🙂

    Thanks, Fariba!

  11. Basically, because Kierkegaard wrote pseudonymous works (books written by fictional characters) alongside his so-called up-building discourses (sort of like sermons), it is helpful to read his writings in the order that we wrote them so that you can understand the references he makes to other pseudonymous authors. After having read most of his works, I have come to the conclusion that it is best to read his works in chronological order.

  12. Ah, that makes perfect sense. I'll keep that in mind. I have his Fear and Trembling on my classics list but I'll have to research where it should fit in. Thanks so much for the explanation!

  13. I miss my summer reading plans.
    When I was teaching I loved the 5-6 weeks that I could dedicate to all things books. I now find it harder to read during summer because I work through it and it's also the time of year we have lots of social engagements/BBQ's/visitors etc.

    Good luck with your plans – you've got some hefty reads ahead of you.

  14. I am grateful to have this time in the summer to read because I'm very aware that it may not last forever. You'll have to try to have reading weekends now and then, and those read-a-thons at least help us focus on reading for the short term.

    I do have some hefty reads but at least about half of them I'm part way through, so I don't feel too overwhelmed. Thanks for the wishes, Brona! 🙂

  15. Inspirational blogpost! I will take inventory today of all my books and make some lists and plans. I tend to read what strikes my fancy these last few weeks. It is 'book prize' time in The Netherlands and I read more books in Dutch this month. Must get myself back on with more classics. July – August 2103 I read 5 Zola's in French….I was exhausted! This year I'm going to do a mix of 3 languages ( Eng/Dutch/French).

  16. Can I read The Decameron along with you? 🙂 I'd plan on reading it very slowly in parts rather than just sitting down and reading. I'd be happy to take it through to the autumn, personally 🙂

    I'm in the very early stages of Doctor Thorne right now – Proust has knocked me so far back with reading schedules: I'm actually thinking of picking up the pace a tad, maybe read The Captive this weekend (the final three Prousts are comparatively short – around 400 pages). Can't think of any new books to read until I've finished! 🙂

  17. I've been enjoying your Dutch books posts but I get frustrated when I see an interesting book and then learn that it has not been translated to English.

    I used to be a little bit more eclectic with my reading but I am really trying to focus on the classics now, since I missed reading so many of these wonderful books when I was younger. This summer list, however, includes a few unusual books for me.

    Can't wait to see your plans, Nancy!

  18. Good timing, O! I've started it a little earlier than planned but here is my official schedule:

    6/2-6/8 —The Decameron, First Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    6/9-6/15 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    6/16-6/22 — Second Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    6/23-6/29 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    6/30-7/6 — Third Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    7/7-7/13 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    7/14-7/20 —Fourth Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    7/21-7/27 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    7/28-8/3 — Fifth Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    8/4-8/10 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    8/11-8/17 — Sixth Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    8/18-8/24 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    8/25-8/31 — Seventh Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    9/1-9/7 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    9/8-9-14 — Eighth Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    9/15-9/21 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    9/22-9/28 — Ninth Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    9/29-10/5 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion
    10/6-10/12 — Tenth Day, Introduction & Stories 1-5
    10/13-10/19 — Stories 6-10 & Conclusion, & Author's Epilogue

    I'm trying to get through Barchester Towers still. I like it but the relational drama is dragging on a little long in the middle of this book. I'm getting impatient with the misunderstandings and lack of communication. I don't know why, but I'm very excited about starting Doctor Thorne.

    I can't believe your perseverance with Proust. Brava! You are inspiring me to start Swann's Way but I'm resisting, keeping true to my goal of clearing some of my current reads.

  19. That schedule is perfect 🙂 I'll make a note of it (with these types of reads I like to divide the book up with bits of paper and whatnot!).

    It was actually you who inspired me to read Proust! You'd done such a good job with The Odyssey I decided I wanted a similar 'big project' and wasn't ready for Homer, so I decided on Proust. But it is so hard! I hate to say it, but I just want to finish it now. May leave Doctor Thorne until June.

  20. So funny! You are scared by Homer and I'm scared by Proust! I can understand you wanting to finish. I've read that within his moments of absolute brilliance, there are moments of mind-numbing boredom. I might stop after Swann's Way ……. although that might feel like giving up, so I may persevere but not before I've made my way through many more classics than I have now.

  21. Oh, how ambitious–even just a part of that. I've read selections from The Decameron (for a school course), and while I enjoyed them, I'm a little afraid that if I tried the whole thing I'd get bogged down in its length. But you seem to plow through books better than I do. I was just thinking about my summer reading today, actually. I've realized that I will have a completely clean slate as of June 1 as all of my library books will be due by then, and I'm all out of renewals. It's a bit liberating, actually, but I'm sure I'll overwhelm myself with options soon. Good luck with all your plans and enjoy!

  22. I'm hoping that spacing out The Decameron will help with pacing it so I don't get bogged down. We'll see though ……. I'm excited about reading a book from this time period.

    Oh, how I envy you! A clean slate! If only I could accomplish such a feat. I hope you have a great summer with lots of interesting reading, Amanda!

  23. 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.

    Heh, I remember six years ago trying to tackle Sartre's Being and Nothingness, his classic work of French existential philosophy. It didn't go very well. Never made it beyond the first 10 pages.

    The Universe Next Door sounds especially intriguing!

    I think the trick with philosophy is it needs to be read slowly and a reader needs to take really good notes (and translate the gist into their own words) and re-read complex parts until the larger ideas sink in.

  24. I was forced to read Sarte in French for the French literature section of French 12. I remember nothing of what I read but I DO remember that I didn't understand any of it at the time, and neither did the rest of the class.

    Thanks for the tips for reading philosophy. Sounds like a good plan. I'm am trying to figure out how to read philosophy before I tackle anything of substance. I've heard that Derrida is a nightmare — I think I'll leave him until last ……. 😉

  25. OMG, what a nice program: I love so much The Desert Fathers, and Calvino, especially this super smart book. Enjoy!

  26. Okay, so I know who to come to if I need help understanding Calvino ….. 😉 I'm glad to hear that you liked it. It makes me have hope that I will too!

    I am liking The Saying of the Desert Fathers too. Some of them are so funny. You expect them all to be rather beneficent, kindly monks, yet some of them are a little grouchy, but in an amusing sort of way. I'm enjoying it much, much more than expected!

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!