My To-Read Books of the Summer

To-Read Books

Over the school year, I slowly collect any and all books I want to read on my Goodreads “to-read” shelf, waiting for their time to be moved to “currently reading.” I start the summer with a mile-long list of books I’m thrilled to read and the excitement of getting to read books I actually want to read. By the time the end of August comes around, however, most of them are left on that “to-read” page for the next year. And I just feel sad.

So: I’ve decided to make a solid list of the books I can conceivably read this summer, in the hopes that I can not only stay on track for my 50 books in 2014 goal, but not feel so defeated when it’s time for school again and many books remain unread. If I can check off at least one list of books, I’ll feel a lot better about the countless others left waiting for another year, another time in my life. Hooray for short-term goals!

So, without further ado- the list:

  • Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi. I saw a lot of great reviews for this book, and with a cover that beautiful how could I resist? (My friend Danielle will tell you, I’m a huge judge of book covers). But the plot sounds pretty intriguing too and it’s a long book- perfect for the summer when I can continuously read a book for a long period of time.
  • A Lesson Before DyingErnest Gaines. My mom has recommended a lot of books to me lately, both from her collection and my sister’s really great school summer reading list. I loved Gaines’ novella “A Long Day in November,” so I really want to read one of his novels. I recently purchased A Lesson Before Dying at the resale bookstore in my city, so it’s definitely getting picked up this summer.
  • The Bean TreesBarbara Kingsolver. Another author I read last semester is Kingsolver, who as a writer really fascinates me. I’ve only read her essays so far, and I want to get into her fiction. I thought I would start with a shorter novel than The Posionwood Bible before getting too committed, but if this goes well you might see next summer’s list start with another Kingsolver novel.
  • Mrs. DallowayVirginia Woolf. I want to like Virginia Woolf sooo bad. But after my struggle with and ultimate defeat by To the Lighthouse, I just wasn’t so sure if Woolf was the author for me. But she’s so important in the female writer world, I’m going to give her as many chances as it takes! My mom recommended Mrs. Dalloway as a good take two, in conjunction with Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. We’ll see how this one goes, but I’m determined to actually finish it- I hate leaving books behind, half-read.
  • We Were LiarsE. Lockhart. Basically, I’m just really intrigued about this one. It’s gotten a lot of hype, but I’m always nervous about young adult novels (they can swing in all sorts of directions, as far as quality of the novel goes). Is it good, is it bad? Is it really that mysterious? I’m curious enough to figure it out for myself.

So there you have it, the five books I want to be sure to read this summer. I’m currently reading Cry, the Beloved Country (um, AMAZING so far, by the way) and once that is complete I will start my mission to read all of these books. What books are you trying to read this summer?

leeann

Books I Bought: Memorial Day Sale

Something to know about my love of reading: I never bought books, like actual, physical books, until high school. I grew up in a house where if you wanted to read something, you got it from the library where it was free and temporary. My shelves were full of yearbooks, Bibles, and books gifted to me at some point or another in my childhood.

Once I experienced the joy of putting my own pencil next to the inked words, I discovered a whole new way to read. And I do love having my own thoughts on each page, along with the possibility of reading a book again whenever I want. Yet my mind is trained to only ever buy a book unless I know I’ll like it (such as classics), I really, really want it (i.e. The Fault in Our Stars), or it’s secondhand. When I buy a book, it’s an occasion.

That’s why Half Price Books is my bestie, and when I saw all books would be 20% off Memorial Day I couldn’t pass it up. I still restricted myself to only three books, and put the rest on hold at the library :)

The three books I got are as follows:

Books I Bought 1

Gone Girl is flying away a little bit in this pic! :)

Gone Girl. After reading Allison Anderson’s rave review on this book, I had to read it for myself. She was so enthralled with the novel, and so many people have suggested it before, I’m finally going to tackle it.  The library list was too long, so since I could get it cheap I went ahead and picked it up. I can’t wait to dig in! You can also watch Allison’s (Amarixe, to the beauty world) mini video review of this book here.

Mrs. Dalloway. I tried Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and couldn’t get through it. As in, I never finished it, which is really saying something for me (I strive finish every book I start).  So my mom recommended Mrs. Dalloway as a good second try, and then to read The Hours, a novel inspired by this one, afterwards. Goodreads describes the novel as detailing “a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-World War I England.” Hopefully I’ll enjoy Woolf better this time. I want to like her soooo badly since she’s such a famous female writer.

The Bean Trees. After being introduced to Barbara Kingsolver’s essays in my women in literature class this past semester, I wanted to explore some of her fiction. According to Goodreads, The Bean Trees is about Taylor Greer, a young woman who “arrives in Tucson, Arizona [with]…a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots.” I must be honest, I’m starting with this one because it’s shorter than The Poisonwood Bible. But I am still looking forward to trying some Kingsolver fiction!

Books I Bought 1-2

Have any of you read these books lately? What did you think of them? I’m looking forward to starting Gone Girl this week. As always, I’ll let you know what I think :)

Also be on the lookout for a couple new types of posts soon. I’m still trying different things out, so I’m excited for your feedback!

leeann