Sunday Salon: Summer Reading

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Months before the end of my spring semester of school, I was counting down for the day that I could start my summer reading. Summer is when I do the most of my reading for the year. Having days on end that I can dedicate, without guilt or fear of bad grades, to reading is my idea of heaven. This year I had one month between semesters to read as much as I want. The only problem is that summer semester starts Monday and my month of carefree reading is almost up. Too bad I was unable to read while I was sick. Oh well.

The start of summer semester isn’t going to stop me from trying to read as much as I want, though it will slow me down. I decided to still come up with a list of books I want to read this summer especially since the start of autumn isn’t until the end of September.

I dedicated this year to reading deliberately and it’s been a success. So I decided to keep going and read more books outside my comfort zone:

  • non-fiction reads
  • classics
  • character-driven instead of plot-driven novels
  • books by and about people of color

I’ve come up with a list that I’m pretty excited about.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon. You’ve probably seen this book featured a few times here. For some reason Chabon is one of those writers I’m really intimidated by. I’m determined to read Maps and Legends this summer.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore. This book has been on my TBR list for a few months now. What made me decide that I really need to read it now was listening to the author discussing this book. It’s the non-fiction account of two men by the name of Wes Moore, growing up in the same city with similar backgrounds. One of the men becomes a Rhodes Scholar while the other ends up serving a life sentence for murder. The book is an exploration of the lives of both men.

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins.

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday.

Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to An American Massacre by Heather Cox Richardson. I found out about this book after browsing Powell’s Bookstore website and reading an essay Richardson wrote.

Satchel by Larry Tye. I bought this book when it was first published (last Father’s Day?) and I still haven’t read it. It’s time to change that.

Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Quicksand and Passing by Nella Larsen. I have no idea which novel I’m going to read by Larsen yet though I am learning towards Passing.

Flight by Sherman Alexie.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robsinson. A character-driven book that was nominated for the Pulitzer.

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf. I love books about reading.

Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. This is another book that’s been “sitting” on my virtual TBR pile for years. I decided to read this after reading Kim’s (Sophisticated Dorkiness) great review.

Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski. After reading so many positive reviews and comments about this book, I know I need to see what’s all the fuss is about.

Not pictured:

A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade by Christopher Benfey

Show and Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustrations by Dilys Evans

From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books by Kathleen T. Horning

Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America’s Educationally Underprepared by Mike Rose

So that’s my list. It”s not counting the books I’m currently reading or review copies. It’s pretty ambitious but I might be able to handle it! Have you read anything on my list? Any recommendations? Do you have a summer reading list? If you do, what’s on your list? If you don’t, what books are you thinking of reading this summer?

About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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32 Responses to Sunday Salon: Summer Reading

  1. Iris says:

    You’ve inspired me to try and make a summer reading list myself. I love looking through list like this and just by naming some of the books you’ve added to my wishlist. A Summer of Hummingbirds looks really good and I would like to try a Chabon book. The title Maps and Legends appeals to me.

  2. Shonda says:

    I’ve been thinking about my summer reading list too. I really need to spend more time reading my own books this summer as I mostly read library books. I’m working on a list and will post later today on my blog. Hope you’re successful with your reading goals!

  3. Michelle says:

    Since you’re contemplating reading Toni Morrison you should touch base with Rebecca @ The Book Lady’s Blog. She mentioned reading her entire backlist over the course of a month.

    Hope you enjoy these!

  4. Molly says:

    I am so glad that you are feeling better!

    You have some great choices here. I have already brought home the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, I think Show and Tell sounds fascinating, and I immediately requested a hold on The Creative Habit after you recommended it to me yesterday🙂

  5. bookmagic says:

    The Other Wes Moore sounds interesting. I think I will check that one out. I have a bit of trouble with Michael Chabon also!

  6. Oh, I see lots of intriguing books there…I loved Housekeeping and Robinson’s other books were pretty good, too.

    I’ve literally been salivating over the “lemon cake” book.

    Here’s my salon:

    http://laurel-rainsnowsaccidentallife.blogspot.com/2010/06/sunday-salon-june-20.html

  7. bermudaonion says:

    I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but there are a lot on there that I’m anxious to read. I don’t have a summer reading list, but I probably should make one to keep myself on track.

  8. Ash says:

    Beloved is excellent, I hope you enjoy it. The Other Wes Moore and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake were recently brought to my attention and they both sound like awesome books so I’ll be interested to see what you think of them.

  9. Laura (Reading and Rooibos) says:

    Wow – I *love* your list! Lots of books I’ve read (Flight, Passing, Beloved, Proust and the Squid) or have been looking forward to reading (A Summer of Hummingbirds, Bamboo People, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake).🙂 I haven’t drafted up a summer reading list for myself, but I think I’m going to make it my ongoing reading mission to read all of the Printz winners/honor books.

  10. I hope you get to read Random Family, I really enjoyed that book even if lots of parts were hard to read. It’s so well done though.

  11. Aarti says:

    The Other Wes Moore sounds fascinating! I hope you read it and review it soon🙂 I am taking Flight with me on a trip to Austin, TX, though I admit I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to read it. I have to read Ain’t I a Woman first. I will let you know if that one (Ain’t I a Woman) is good as I bet if it is, it would greatly interest you!

  12. Good luck with your summer reading–I love looking at other people’s summer reading lists.

  13. Aths says:

    I wish I did have a proper summer break, but alas, I’m graduating by the end of summer. So I’ll have to forget about reading too many books. That said, I did make a “tiny list” of books to read over the summer – books that I’ve always talked about reading. I love making my own summer reading lists – I feel that’s a lot of fun! Loved drooling over the books on your summer list – now why is that giving me more ideas for future lists!

  14. What a great list! I plan on reading Bamboo People as well, I got a signed copy of BEA so I don’t see any reason to not dig into it.

  15. Jenny says:

    Oh, I’ll be interested to see what you think of The Other Wes Moore. I saw it at the library the other day and nearly checked it out, but then I realized I’d reached my limit of books.:/

  16. I read The Proust and the Squid, I think, last year or the year before. I wanted to love it, but I think I only liked it.

    Here was my review and I don’t think I had any spoilers in it🙂 http://unfinishedperson.com/2008/05/15/proust-and-the-squid/

  17. Valerie says:

    Wow, that is quite a list! An interesting variety there. I haven’t read anything on your list, although I have “Beloved” and “Random Family” in my TBR pile. It’s funny, soon after I read Kim’s thoughts on “Random Family”, I found it on our library sale shelf for 50 cents. I’m not sure I’ll get to it this summer, but maybe you can talk me into reading it also when you do get to it.

  18. Gavin says:

    You got some wonderful books on this list. Several among them are favorites of mine starting with <iHousekeeping and House Made of Dawn. I am adding A Summer of Hummingbirds and Wounded Kneeto my TBR pile. Have a great week, Vasilly.

  19. Frances says:

    Maps and Legends is on my summer list too, and then yesterday saw someone on Twitter complaining about how awful it is. Hate that! Had such high expectations and still do but now with that twinge of doubt. Happy summer reading!

  20. Stephanie says:

    Great summer reading list!

  21. Christina says:

    The Other Wes Moore was highlighted in my local paper as a must read this past week, and I love the cover of Housekeeping. There’s just something about those train tracks.

  22. I am reading the Chabon right now. I’m not intimidated by him; I’m irritated by his pretentious narrative voice – particularly in these essays. I found that it bothered me in The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay as well. I “felt” the author’s presence much more than I typically do when I read. Not that I don’t enjoy a well-crafted sentence, but his sentences were sometimes “art for art’s sake” and didn’t really advance his point.

    I’ll be curious to see what your opinion is of this book.

  23. Christy says:

    Random Family is an awesome work of non-fiction – one of my favorite reads last year. Beloved is excellent, but it’s been longer since I’ve read that one.

  24. Carrie K. says:

    I am SO excited that you’re going to read Fieldwork – it’s one of my all-time favorites!

  25. Bina says:

    That´s such a great summer list!🙂 Maps and Legends sounds good, I haven´t read any Chabon except for The Yiddish Policemen´s Union, but that was really great. And Passing is on my neverending tbr list.

    I´ve given up on planned reading for the most part, except for some reading challenges. Somehow as soon as I plan to read books, I´m always distracted by other and start feeling guilty, too much stress ;D

    Enjoy your summer reading!🙂

  26. zibilee says:

    Oh, you’ve picked some awesome books! I will be particularly interested in what you think of Lemon Cake, Proust and the Squid, and Beloved. Those are all on my list and I am eager to get to them. I wish you a very successful run of reading this summer, and hope that all your books are wonderful!

  27. iliana says:

    That is a wonderful list Vasilly! I really like your reading plans. Last year I felt like I was reading more across genres and I really liked that but this year as I’ve glanced through my reads so far I don’t notice big differences. I want to go back to being more inclusive and hope I can mix up my reading a bit more as the year continues. Good luck with your reading plans!

  28. Memory says:

    I’ve read BELOVED from your list. I can’t honestly say that it’s enjoyable, but it’s certainly a powerful, worthwhile read. It changed my mind about Toni Morrison and left me determined to read everything she’s written. I’m chipping away at her bibliography, slowly but surely.

  29. Kathleen says:

    I’ve not read any on this list! I’m thinking I will be adding them to my list once I read your reviews. I’m glad you are feeling better now and sorry you couldn’t read while you were sick.

  30. kay says:

    What a great reading list! So many interesting titles, and in so various genres, too. I think you have a great summer ahead of you. I read part of “Beloved” once, years a ago, for years, and I’ve been meaning to finish it for years. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it – and on the other books, too!

    As you know I’m planning on “getting rid of” some chunksters; this promise to be a fun summer!

  31. Amanda says:

    Haha, I have an incredibly seemingly-never-ending list of books to read. However, I can really agree that school slows things down. I was so used to reading anything I wanted whenever I wanted, and I started school a few months ago and now I am feeling deprived of my precious time.
    I havent read any of the books on your list yet, but I am definitely going to look into some of them. Beloved is on my list; I have it sitting at home on my bookshelf. I’m gonna check back to see what you think of that one, maybe I’ll read it soon too.

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