Summer reading and looking ahead

Summer is almost here by Leland

Yesterday was the last day of the semester and I can’t tell you how relieved I am. I love the excitement of a new semester with teachers that I usually haven’t had before on classes that I’ve been waiting to take. But the end of a semester brings its own share of excitement: the stacks of books that I can read without interruptions.  For the next four weeks I can read as much as I want while the kids are still in school. After that I can still read a lot but not as much since the kids will be home with me most of the summer.  So I feel a little (just a little) pressure to make every second of this time count.

Last night I started reading Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write about Real Sex edited by Erica Jong (June 2011). It’s a collection of essays , short stories, and even a comic from a variety of writers and artists about sex and love and everything that comes along with it. Note: This is not romance. Romance is talked about in the book but don’t think of romance novels or anything of the sort when you think about Sugar in My Bowl. Some of the authors featured in the collection include Rebecca Walker, Eve Ensler, and Julie Klam.  So far the writing is smart and funny. I love Jong’s introduction and how she admitted that most of the authors featured wouldn’t agree to be a part of the collection until their partners said yes. It made me think: would a male writer asked his partner if it was okay to be in a collection about sex?

Review copies

I’m also reading The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey. The novel is about an English couple who have spent decades in Trinidad and their marriage in the midst of the country’s political unrest. It appeared on the Orange Prize for Fiction’s longlist along with Rosie Allison’s The Very Thought of You (July 2011). The Very Thought of You has been on my reading list since the beginning of the year when  Jill from The Magic Lasso shared an article about the book. Set during WWII the book is about a young girl, Anna, who’s  sent to the Yorkshire countryside to live with a childless couple. Anna ends up being a witness to an affair and the consequences of it. The book has received mixed reviews but I can’t wait to read it. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt is a book that I’ve read only positive things about. I don’t read westerns but if this book is half as good as the hype surrounding it and the cover, I know that I’m going to enjoy it.

From my tbr shelves and lists

I love reading stories by and about women so I’m looking forward to The Secret Lives of Bab Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin, Tillie Olsen’s classic short story collection Tell Me a Riddle, and The Girl who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow.

Read-alongs

Have you noticed that some of the best read-alongs are hosted during the summer?Allie over at A Literary Odyssey is hosting a read-along of The Iliad while the lovely Belleza is asking others to join her as she reads Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad that starts May 23rd, which is just a few days away. Atwood is an author that I’m pretty intimdated to read so I think The Penelopiad would be a great start. Of course there’s also my read-along  of Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns which will be going on throughout June. There’s also the Woman Warrior (Maxine Hong Kingston) read-along over at Feminist Classics. It seems like this is a book that everyone read in high school – except me. I plan on changing that.

And last but not least, what would a summer be like without re-reading a few favorite books? I first read Beloved by Toni Morrisonduring last year’s Christmas break and it was easily the best book of 2010. I can’t wait to read it all over again along with American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I plan on giving it a dual reading once again: in print and audio. Every time I even think about this book, I wonder if I should change my major back to anthropology.

So that’s a few books that I’m looking forward to reading over my summer break. What books are you looking forward to tackling this summer?

17 thoughts on “Summer reading and looking ahead

  1. Sugar in My Bowl, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives are also on my TBR list.

    I know how you feel about Woman Warrior…I haven’t read it, either!

  2. I’m so excited about Baba Segi’s Wives as well. I just can’t wait to start it. I want to read America Gods, my brother absolutely loved it!

  3. I’m so glad that you’re joining in for The Penelopiad read along. Don’t be intimidated by Margaret Atwood, she’s much more fun, and easier to understand, than Virginia Woolf for example. ;)

    Save room for the Japanese Literature Challenge 5 which will begin June 1, if you can. xoxo

    I can feel the joy with which you celebrate the end of the semester. Much as I anticipate sending a few of my students off on their summer vacation!

  4. Looks like some wonderful books in your docket! I’m planning to finally read Kate Atkinson this summer, and generally clear out my TBR pile a little bit, so I can buy new books come fall. :p

  5. i have The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives on my shelf waiting to be read, too. i keep picking it up and putting it back down for some reason…

    definitely looking forward to our many readalongs and weeks of school-less, uninterrupted reading time. it’s going to be glorious! :D

  6. Four weeks of uninterrupted reading. That sounds like bliss. I hope you get to enjoy all the books you plan to read. I have the first two review books too. Enjoy!

  7. I SO want your life right now! It sounds perfect. Also glad to hear you will be joining us in reading The Penelopiad with Bellezza and Col. Let me sulk off now all green with envy to not read but scrub toilets or something equally exciting but necessary. :)

  8. You have so many great books lined up! My only summer plan is to participate in Paris in July again… putting together my reading list now.

  9. So glad to hear that you are free for awhile to read the things you want to catch up on! I bet you are just going to be a reading machine during this time! I am looking forward to getting to Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter soon, as well as The Unnamed. I just started Please Look After Mom, and have to say, so far it’s excellent! Happy reading to you!

  10. I am so excited about summer reading! My list is sooooo long, I know I’ll never get to all of them. I am waiting for Warmth of Other Suns from the library – I’m first on the list as soon as whoever has it now turns it in. :)

  11. I’ve got The Girl Who Fell From the Sky and American Gods on my summer reading list too! This will be the first time in 10 years that I’ve worked during the summer (the joys of being a teacher) so I hope I can still do a lot of reading!

  12. Goodness – you have touched on so many great books, I don’t know what to comment on!
    I have not read Woman Warrior yet and own a copy so I will move it up the list of books I need to read soon.
    YIPPEE for summer!

  13. Can you believe that I’ve never read American Gods?? I’m hoping to read it sometime soon as I heard there was going to be a show or movie based off it. It sounds really interesting…hope you get the chance to reread it :) Enjoy your summer reading!

  14. Looks like you have some great books lined up for the summer! I would also like to read The Secret Lives of Bab Segi’s Wives this summer. I would normally be tempted to join in on The Penelopiad read-along, but my library doesn’t have a copy.

  15. Things have been rather topsy-turvy this spring, so I haven’t properly thought about summer reading yet, but I am looking forward to dreaming about it when I finish my Orange Prize reading in the next few days. Isn’t it fun to look ahead to books?

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