The Sunday Salon: Mulling over my Summer Reading List

Another week, another Sunday Salon!

I’ve had two books on the go this week.  The first is Mary Olivier: A Life, by May Sinclair, which is a Virago Modern Classic.  The second is At Large and at Small, a collection of essays by Anne Fadiman.  I picked up the second book when the first got to be a bit much, emotionally.  The essays were just the break I needed, and I was able to return to Mary on Friday.

We’ve had gorgeous weather in my part of the world this weekend, my vegetable garden is coming along nicely, and I’m loving the increasing hours of daylight.  All these signs of summer inspired me to look ahead to my summer reading list.  I admit it — I just like reviewing and tweaking my list — so any excuse will do!

In June, I’ll be participating in a group read of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s work.  I’m planning to read Lady Audley’s Secret.  My copy is a Virago Modern Classic edition, and the cover “blurb” sounds most intriguing:

Sir Michael Audley is captivated by his young and beautiful second wife. She has made a most advantageous match: once a governess, she is now mistress of Audley Court, a splendid and rambling mansion, and envy of the neighborhood. Those who meet Lady Audley are fascinated by her, most particularly her husband’s nephew, Robert. But his fascination begins to disturb him. For as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of his friend, George Talboys, he discovers that Lady Audley’s beguiling charm masks the cold heart of a ruthless woman.

I’m also planning to read When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins:

When Everything Changed begins in 1960, when most American women had to get their husbands’ permission to apply for a credit card. It ends in 2008 with Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential campaign. This was a time of cataclysmic change, when, after four hundred years, expectations about the lives of American women were smashed in just a generation.

I discovered this book back in January, when I read Florinda’s comments.  She recommended reading it for the Women Unbound Challenge, which gave me an excuse to tweak another of my lists!

This summer I’ll also be reading some prizewinners, including Tinkers, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.  And of course there’s Orange July!  I’m planning to devote most of my July reading to the Orange Prize, reading the 2010 prizewinner and several shortlisted works from recent years.

And that’s not all!  I’m planning some spontaneous choices (does that sentence even make sense?!)  … choosing dusty volumes from my stacks, reading based on my mood and not a PLAN … oh, I’m giddy with delight!

What are you looking forward to reading this summer?

Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

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7 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Mulling over my Summer Reading List

  1. Summer?! It feels so far away – I can’t believe how fast this year is disappearing.

    Orange July always seems to be in the wrong month for me. I have just overdosed on the Orange long list, so like a little break from the Oranges over the Summer. I’m hoping to indulge in a few long books over the summer – Shogun? Lamb in his Bosom? and a few more of those older Booker wiiners.

    • Jackie, I think summer comes a bit earlier here than it does for you. For one thing, our weather is already summery — in my area, temperatures above 70F (21C) are common at this time of year, and it will only get warmer. And the school year will end in mid-June, so “summer anticipation” is in full swing!

      I can understand your need for an Orange break after reading the longlist! But yes, there’s always those Booker winners 🙂

  2. Braddon. I loooved Lady Audley’s Secret; it should be a nice distraction for you. I have her Trail of the Serpent hanging around and recently picked up a copy of The Doctor’s Wife; they would make great summer reads too, I bet.

  3. Looks like your summer plans are coming together nicely, Laura. Being that summer is not really any different for me than any other time of year (other than the fact that it is much warmer out), I don’t go out of my way to make plans for the season reading wise. I like the idea though!

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