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!

28 thoughts on “Summer ~~ Books in my Bag

  1. OMG, you have planned a frenzied summer full of reading. I wish I were so ambitious. Instead, I think I will have more modest goals (i.e., I will probably post about those in a day or so at my blog). I wish you success in your summer of reading. Keep us all posted on your progress. Meanwhile, all the best from the white sands of the Gulf coast. Ah, summer!

  2. Love this post! It's excellent how you plan 🙂

    Well – Ovid – I'm happy to wait until you're ready. To be honest, I think I'm ready for Canterbury Tales and would prefer to read that. I stalled it because I needed a wee break from Medieval lit after The Decameron, but I feel ready again and would like to start, but I don't feel I can read BOTH Ovid and Chaucer. I'll stick to my plan for Chaucer – a tale a week. This makes the next two weeks rather scary, but after that it should be a lot easier 🙂

    Ulysses – are you taking part in Fanda's Literary Movements challenge? There's a modernism month for October, perhaps save it for then? I'll be reading Joyce then I reckon, possibly Ulysses but not sure.

    Framley Parsonage – Well, I've been wanting to read Palliser novels and although I loved the first novel I've stalled on it! Read Can You Forgive Her? in March and not made any progress!

    What is to Be Done? – that sounds interesting, going to check it out 🙂

    It's "Austen in August" in, well, August! Hosted by Adam of Roofbeam reader – that's a good time to focus on Austen 🙂

    Ecce Homo – not heard of that one, googled it though and looks interesting 🙂

    Don't talk to me about Deal Me In – I'm about to start writing about a Kafka story and I've got a complete block on it. It's the one I dodged a month or so ago.

    Shakespeare – I want to re-read the histories, made a good start with King John and not read a history since! I need to pick up on that soon… 🙂

    This summer I'm focusing on my Victorian Challenge. Hoping to be all but finished by August, after that going to pick up some Shakespeare and Ancient Greek / Romans…

    Right, well, those are my thoughts! Going to be heartbroken if Blogger eats my comment when I click publish………. 🙂

  3. Whoa, I am impressed by all of these challenges. And Ulysses! I'm not even trying to go there, because if I did, I think I might want to finish just to say I had done it. I managed to make some progress on my Back to the Classics/Classics Club challenges by picking very short books, but now I really need to get to work on some chunksters. Good luck with all your reading!

  4. Wow, I don't feel so bad anymore. (I mean, I'm not alone in my struggles.)

    I don't think GWTW is over, yet. You have until August. I just gave it up b/c I was forcing myself to read it.

    I commend you on continuing through Montaigne. Commend, commend, commend.

    Up From Slavery is excellent. Cannot wait to get to it and then compare notes with you and the others who are reading it. Washington is right on!

    Feel the same about Ecce Homo. What in the world are we going to do? I'm looking at the next few bios that way.

    So I hope mid-July comes soon for you, so you can get reading and writing again. Hope all is going well with your mom, too.


  5. Yes, I'm nuts, I know. 😉 I'll be looking forward to seeing your plans. And I think that we are hotter or as hot in the Pacific Northwest as you are in the Gulf Coast. July used to be rainy on and off but for the last three years we've had blistering constant sun. I guess I shouldn't complain but one likes balance in life, and Mother Nature does not seem to be co-operating. In any case, happy reading to you!

  6. Oh, how I love long comments!!

    Great minds, and all that …….. I am more inclined to read The Canterbury Tales too, so let's do that; Ovid seems more like a fall/winter book to me. I might try starting next week but I really can't see that it's going to work, so it will probably be around the 13th.

    Haven't you read Ulysses a couple of times? Are you a sucker for punishment? 😉 I'm not doing the Literary Movement ~~ at this point I just want to get through Ulysses for the first (and possibly last time). All through it, I feel as if Joyce is giving the finger to his readers. I don't feel it's a creative endeavour so much as a "ha ha ha, I'm going to write something that you'll never be able to figure out because I have a contempt for you that is overwhelming". I don't like that.

    Isn't that funny …… it was Kafka that stalled me on my Deal Me In Challenge too. Perhaps he should be avoided in this context. 😉

    I feel absolutely wretched but I'm just not enjoying Austen as much as I usually do and I have no idea why. I think because I'm reading the books in a row, I see so many similar themes and conversations. When they're spread out, you notice the brilliance but so close together it sounds like you've heard it all before. I don't know. I'm just very disappointed. Pride and Prejudice is up next and it's my favourite so hopefully it will put me back on track.

    It's encouraging to know that you have some of the same struggles as me. You just fly through books so I always think that you're a reading machine and never have any problems. For some reason this year, I feel very distracted. I have Reading England on one end and a Pre-Printing Press Challenge on another. I am so interested in reading 18th and 19th century lit but every time I see you mention Greek or Roman authors, I want to go there. And don't even mention the Russian authors! I have no direction and blow with the wind. Sigh! My resolution for 2016 will have to be to pull it together and actually choose only a couple of areas to focus on.

  7. I think that you're wise to stay away from Ulysses. Thanks for your wishes! I've almost finished my Back To The Classics Challenge (10 out of 12 books completed) so that is one success for a so far distracted year. As my Classics Club list gets smaller I notice that there are some large books left, so I should really get to those. I don't want only chunksters left at the end either.

  8. You are not alone, and neither am I, which is a comforting thought, indeed. 🙂

    Ah, that's interesting about GWTW. I was wondering about it. I know Adler and Van Doren mention it in their How to Read a Book DVD, but somehow it doesn't seem like a true classic to me. Mitchell's writing is stellar but so far the content seems ….. I'm not sure of the word I'm looking for ….. immature? In any case, I was going to try to get further into it before making judgements.

    I'm not looking forward to Ecce Homo because Nietzsche can be hard to take at the best of times. I am, however, (and unlike you) so excited to read Mein Kampf. God created Hitler so somewhere there is a little of God inside him. I'd like to see if it's findable.

    Montaigne is like a friend …… a somewhat odd and not always mentally organized friend, but a friend nevertheless. I love his essays.

    Oh, I can't wait to discuss our thoughts on the three slavery books. They were very good choices for more reasons than one. I love Washington's viewpoints so far.

    Thanks for the wishes for my mom. Sadly, she's not doing very well —- she's now having psychotic breaks which we're assuming is because of medication but none of the doctors seem to want to do their jobs to figure out just what's happening, and they just pass the buck and guess. I can't believe how atrocious our medical system is here —- you'd probably get better care under a passel of monkeys. Have fun with Obama's socialized medicine. My advice to you is to read up everything you can in the medical field because eventually you'll have to diagnose yourself. All this going on has obviously affected my reading time and focus this year, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I'm struggling. Again, we can just hope and pray that everything improves somehow and she starts to be able to function normally again. She was perfectly healthy mentally and physically 5 months ago, so hopefully some of that is recoverable. In any case, any prayers would be appreciated! 😉

    I hope you get out of your slump and back on the reading track soon. I don't know about you, but I always feel a little "off" whenever I'm not reading regularly.

    P.S. Again, love the long comments.

  9. Sorry about your mom, that she has to go through this. And this is a condition that you must rely on the medical community to help. Unbelievable! that even under this system there are such incompetencies. Once people joined the medical field b/c they truly wanted to help others. Now it is just another job.

    I'm in agreement that with socialized medicine, we are all going to have to be our own family physician. But let's be honest, government healthcare isn't about caring for people; it's about government expansion, revenues, and power.

  10. To begin with, good to see you back! Though I am very sorry about your mum! I completely understand the suffering that your mum is going through as well the challenges you face. Keep the faith! Secondly amazing set of books…though Ulysses is something I will pass…I read it way back in my undergrad days and I cannot honestly say I would want to re-read it. GWTW is on till August, which is why I plod on as well. Are you planning to read the entire trilogy of LTR? Along with all these other books???? And to think you tell me that I really taken on too many books!! Yeesh! But if you do read LTR next month, I will join you….I love the trilogy! I love Framley Parsonage…One of my all time favorites!! Hope you like it…I also love S&S and if I had time would have re-read it again! I think I need therapy!! Hang in there and come back to the bookish-bloggish world soon!

  11. Canterbury Tales would be good. I want to finish (well, start as well, not done that yet) Anna Karenina, so week starting 13th would be good. I've been thinking about this since I read your comment – I want to read a fragment a week. This makes week 1 and week 7 very hard indeed, week 2 and week 9 very easy, and the rest very manageable. I think my original plan of reading a tale a week (which would be 26 weeks) would be a tad excessive!

    Ulysses – something draws me to it. It's not that bad – Finnegans Wake is the excruciating one (I've actually read it, and no, didn't get anything out of it at all!). I think you'll do better because you've got a solid Homer background.

    Kafka – read it finally and blogged about it. Perhaps one of my shortest and most pointless posts ever. I just couldn't get to half way through the challenge and fail! It pained me to post that post.

    As for Austen – I don't read her that much – seems to be big gap when I do. Last one I read was Sense and Sensibility, which was last August (just checked, am surprised, didn't think it was that long).

    As for being a reading machine! Ha! Today plans were to finish Edwin Drood and start Anna K. So far have planned on reading Canterbury Tales, watched two episodes of House, and ironed, and now more chores, then maybe a Law and Order, then my Tumblr, then perhaps Drood. But not Anna K! 🙂 Furthermore, such was my fear of Anna K I watched the film earlier in the week (Keira Knightley one) to help me out a little!

  12. To be fair, I think here people not in it for the money or power and they do care, but there are simply too many problems with the system and no one has enough guts to stand up and take responsibility or try to figure out how to fix it.

  13. Don't be scared of Anna Karenina. It was my first Tolstoy and I found it wonderful.

    As for the Canterbury Tales, I looked up the fragments to see the splits. That's pretty ambitious, but since it's over a summer break for me and it looks like I'll have two hour windows from Sept-Jan where I can read if I like, I should be able to do it.

    I've been addicted to ER reruns lately —- love Dr. Romano —– so I know the distraction of T.V. (although I don't have cable, so that helps). Which Law and Order? UK?

    Chores?! Sigh! My house looks like a target for a bomb that's been dropped, so as soon as this week ends, I have some cleaning to do. Can't wait to get at it (that is a total lie! 😉 )

  14. Thanks, Cirtnece! I'm happy to be partly back. And thanks so much for your sympathy.

    I will read the whole trilogy, if I decide to, so I'll let you know. Pencil it in, thinking that it's a probable go. I caved in and bought kayaks the other day, so I will spend some of my holidays in other pursuits than reading. I don't want to book-overload myself, like I usually do, but if I read LOTR, The Canterbury Tales, maybe Ulysses, and then try to finish off my started but unfinished books, that should be doable. I hope.

    I will be back! 😉

  15. 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.

    Of course you should finish it! Think of how accomplished you'll feel. I just finished Tristram Shandy, which was a pretty difficult read as well.

    It is always a tricky decision for a reader: stop reading works that one isn't enjoying or finish everything one starts.

  16. I recommend Ovid, but somehow I inow what you mean about it maybe not being a summer book, he's waited "thousands of years" for you to read him. I'm sure he'll wait a little longer if necessary. 🙂

    I just last month started a project reading Plutarch's Lives and have really been enjoying it thus far, mostly in observing the many instances that illustrate how so much about human character is relatively unchanged across the millennia…

  17. Law and Order SVU. The UK one is dire 🙂

    And yep, it is pretty ambitious but there's only two hardcore weeks, the rest aren't too bad. Unless you want to split up fragments 1 and 7 into 2?

  18. What a wonderful reading list. Funny reading about Lord of the Rings. I, too, haven't read it in a number of years and have started it this summer. I only read it right before going to bed. Somehow that seems fitting.
    Good luck with your reading plans!

  19. I will probably finish it. I think it's Joyce's attitude more than anything that bugs me.

    Oh, was Tristram difficult? That's unfortunate. I was looking forward to that one.

    I don't usually quit on classics ~~ usually I find even if I hate the book, I can get something out of it. The only one I've given up on, that I can remember, is Tender is the Night.

  20. Don't get me wrong, I am so excited to start Ovid, but when I thought of beginning him now, it just felt like the wrong time of year.

    Oh my, now you've done it! Plutarch's Lives is at the top of my list and now you've tempted me. I'm going to have to slot it in after Ovid and The Canterbury Tales. Herodotus is supposed to be fun for his Histories too.

  21. Ah, so there are a few of us who are or going to be reading LOTR. Fun. I'm going to have to see if I'm going to spread it out or read it in a week. I'm not sure yet. Thanks for the wishes, Sharon! 🙂

  22. You can read my reasons at the time here: I really dislike Fitzgerald. When I read, I really like to feel that there is a conversation between the author and the reader …… a connection. With Fitzgerald, I often find a wall that is unbreachable. It's not because we disagree …….. there are a number of authors with whom I can disagree and still have a lively "conversation". I'm actually not sure what it is. However, even though I said I wouldn't be returning to Fitzgerald in my review, I probably will give him a further try at some point, if for nothing else, to be able to articulate my dislike of him better. I wanted to like his writing, I just haven't.

  23. I've had trouble getting much read lately as well, although I haven't been able to work out exactly why. I'm maybe a little busier than last year at this time, but only a little. But that never stops one from an ambitious reading list, though, does it? And yours looks quite ambitious!

    I'm not personally familiar with most of the books on your list (although I do love Austen – I'm planning on participating for Austen in August), but I did read Metamorphosis, oh, maybe ten years ago now, and I had trouble getting into it too. I know some people really like it though, so maybe it's just a matter of finding the "right" time. Oh, and Lord of the Rings – another favorite. If it were me, I'd be tempted to add it to the pile! (But then again, I might be tossing other things off in favor of Tolkien, so perhaps I'm not the best one to listen to on this one. 🙂 )

    Good luck and happy reading!

  24. I am glad you're back and congrats on taking to writing. Writing can be an adventure and scary too, but I find it is often the only thing that keeps me sane when the the world seems crazy. I am very interested in this:

    "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."

    A chain of responses? I didn't know this. Of these I've only read part of Notes from the Underground, but now that I know they were talking to each other I might find it more interesting to begin with Fathers and Son and read down the chain.

  25. That's me ….. shoot high and then fail big. No, I'm kidding. I just feel that I need to focus on certain books or I'll never get to them.

    I've been doing Austen all year and sadly not enjoying her as much as I expected. I'm only two books in so perhaps the pleasure of reading her will pick up.

    You just can't lose with The Lord of the Rings, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Have a great summer, Amanda, and I hope you're able to increase your reading time!

  26. Hmmm, writing ……… it wasn't something that I even decided to do, it just started coming out and won't stop (yet). So I'm just going with it and will see where it takes me. Writing is a sanity-saver though, isn't it?

    Luckily I'd read Fathers and Sons first and then found out about the "chain". Chernyshevsky's an odd one but the book is definitely worth reading.

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