Summer reading

And by summer reading I mean both the book list and the vibe.

For me, summer has always been the time for long, thick, character-driven books, stretching to a thousand pages and more, and preferably with a tangible prose (case in point: last August’s It). Save the metaphysical for winter, I say – let’s do something easy on the brain and readily immersive, something with expert plotting that you can draw out for a month+ (I’m having fun with D’Artagnan and the three musketeers right now).

Summer is still that time to lose yourself. Doesn’t matter that it’s no longer a three-month vacation now that I’m working fulltime year-round.

I do miss the summer book lists my high school English classes handed out. I found a few keepers on there: The Grapes of Wrath, Caine Mutiny, A Time to Die, Henry V…while deftly avoiding others (Pride and Prejudice*), succumbing to the woefully required (The Bean Trees) and putting off others for a less-hyped (by high school standards anyway) time, e.g. 1984, which I’m halfway through at the moment.

It’s a bit sad not to be getting these lists anymore. They were a good mix of old and new classics and were usually accompanied by an essay or at least discussion that first week back. I liked hearing about what others read and talking up the ones I loved.

In college, summer meant talking books with a good friend on the Dakota club’s patio, a bottle of wine between us in the mid-afternoon sun, no place to be and making our way through Parade’s End and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

And summer also meant Harry Potter. Always, summer meant Harry Potter. I read that series every damn year. It’s about time to read it again! 🙂

And so, when I finally bid adieu to Dumas and Orwell, here’s a tentative summer reading list to get me started:

Stephen King, The Stand

Günter Grass, The Tin Drum

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter 

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

What’s your kind of summer reading?


There was a wonderful enchantment about the place! At every moment you could hear the pure, three-note whistling of orioles, with intervals of waiting, so that the moist, drawn-out flutelike sound could fully saturate the surroundings. The stagnant scent of flowers wandering in the air was nailed down motionless to the flowerbeds by the heat…

Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

*For the record, I did read Pride and Prejudice later on, after college even, and yes, Elizabeth had her moments but no, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

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