As far as I’m concerned, June heralds the official arrival of summer in these parts. The weather is mostly warm and sunny, and the school year will soon be over. And with these changes, my bookish thoughts turn to summer reading. This week I read a lifehacker article on How to Create an Awesome Summer Reading List. The first recommendation is to tackle your reading backlog. I almost fell over laughing, because I have 135 Virago Modern Classics and 75 other books on my physical TBR pile. That’s about 2.5 years of reading (oh dear, I really didn’t need to know that …) But then I read the article more carefully, and realized that “tackling” meant something else entirely:
First, tackle your reading backlog: If you have books you’ve been meaning to read for ages but haven’t gotten around to them, sift through your pile to make sure you still want to read each of them; purge the ones you honestly will never read but which may have been weighing heavily on you or preventing you from finding new books. If you still want to read the books in your pile someday, you may just need a broader mix of book genres—keep this in mind when building this year’s reading list.
Hmmm, that sounds a lot like culling, which has already been proven futile. Even though there’s no hope for my TBR pile, the article also has useful tips like “look for the right types of books based on your available time” and great information on using social book sites and swap sites as inspiration. But truth be told, I don’t need much help to build my summer reading list.
What will I be reading this summer?
I began the month of June reading the “second movement” of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. I loved the first movement (a collection of three novellas set in Britain between the wars). The second has a similar pace and style, and I’m enjoying reconnecting with characters who feel like old friends. I’ll also read one or two novels by Iris Murdoch, since I’m trying to read all of her Booker Prize nominated books this year. And then of course there’s Orange July! Most of my July reading will be Orange Prize winners & nominees. I have two sitting on my shelves already, and I’m still waffling over which ones to read from the 2011 shortlist.
Over the course of the summer I’ll continue reading one Virago per month, and I hope to make a tiny dent in my stacks by choosing books that suit my summer reading mood. Here are some of the books I’m considering for the summer:
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (on my stacks)
- People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks (on my stacks)
- My Antonia, by Willa Cather (I have this in a Virago edition)
- The Lieutenant, by Kate Grenville (on my stacks)
- The Black Prince, by Iris Murdoch (on my stacks)
- 2011 Orange Prize Winner
- Great House, by Nicole Krauss (Orange nominee)
- The Memory of Love, by Aminatta Forna (Orange nominee)
- Molly Fox’s Birthday, by Deirdre Madden (Orange nominee)
- The White Family, by Maggie Gee (Orange nominee)
- All Mortal Flesh, by Julia Spencer-Fleming (#5 in a mystery series)
- When Will There be Good News?, by Kate Atkinson (#3 in a mystery series)
I’ll need to choose a couple more Viragos, which I usually do on the spur of the moment. But I will happily accept recommendations! So, two questions for the comments:
What’s your favorite “summery” Virago?
What are you reading this summer?
Read more from The Sunday Salon here.