The Sunday Salon: Let the Summer Reading Season Begin!

Summer arrived last weekend, bringing lots of sun and very warm temperatures. I wonder if it’s here to stay? Well, even if the weather takes a turn, I’m definitely in “summer reading mode,” riding high on a wave of good reads in May.  I managed to read all the books in my May book stack, plus one more: Elizabeth Taylor’s The Sleeping Beauty (I’m hosting a readalong in June).  And I’m really excited about the books in my queue for the next few months.  Some are books I bought with a birthday gift card, others are Orange Prize winners or nominees, and everything just looks sooo good!

Pictured from top to bottom:

  • On my Kindle, George Eliot’s MiddlemarchI’m making steady progress on Book IV, reading a chapter each week.  The Team Middlemarch discussion will be in July.
  • The Observations, by Jane Harris: This was on my “might read” list for May, but I read Elizabeth Taylor’s The Sleeping Beauty instead.  I added it to my 2012 reading list after seeing so much praise for it during Orange January.  And it’s living up to my expectations so far!
  • Carry Me Down, by M. J. Hyland: This 2006 Booker Prize nominee caught my attention when I was perusing the prize backlist.
  • Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward:  This National Book Award winner was one of my gift card purchases.
  • Gillespie and I, by Jane Harris:  Yes, another by Jane Harris!  The buzz about this book was more temptation than I could resist.  Yay for birthday gift cards!

And not pictured, which I’ll get from the library later this month:

  • Mother’s Milk, by Edward St. Aubyn:  another Booker Prize nominee.  I’ve heard a lot about St Aubyn’s Melrose series lately, and decided he was an author I should discover.  I know you’re wondering, why aren’t you starting with the beginning of the series?  Well, it’s a Booker “completist” thing.  Once I read Mother’s Milk and Carry Me Down, I’ll  have read the entire 2006 shortlist.  Call me crazy, but I do like checking off lists … 🙂

June will be a busy month with other family activities, and I seem to be on a slower pace this year overall, so 5 books is realistic.  But if I happen to have time for more, don’t worry:  I have a long list of candidates for Orange July, and would have no problem diving into them early!

What are your summer reading plans?


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14 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Let the Summer Reading Season Begin!

  1. Ooooh, great looking books in your stack for this month (can’t wait to see what you think of Salvage the Bones!). I really need to read some Harris novels…will look forward to your reviews of those 🙂

    • Hi Wendy, thanks for stopping by! Watch this space for reviews. The Observations is interesting so far, I can tell you that much.

  2. A good mix there. It is years since I read Middlemarch – though I know I enjoyed it. I have never read any Jane Harris – so wil be interested to know what you think. I have read Carry me Down, I know I liked it – but am struggling to remember anything about it.

    • Ali, I have that “struggle to remember …” feeling about lots of books too. I know I enjoyed them at the time, but in a lifetime of reading they don’t stand out. But then they can’t all be 5-star reads, can they?

  3. Loving your stack! I’ve heard of Mother’s Milk so I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it. This summer, I want to get a handle on my tbr stack. It’s out of control. 🙂 Happy reading.

    • Vasilly, I’m trying really really hard NOT to add to my TBR stack these days. I have a few years’ worth of reading just sitting on my shelves, so it’s kind of crazy to acquire more. So I completely understand your challenge!

  4. Looking forward to your reactions to Gillespie and I. I read this last month. It kept me going through a long night flight because the story zips along but by the end I did wonder what all the fuss was about.

    Now Middlemarch – that’s totally different; one of my all time great reads.

    • Karen, I was certainly influenced by book blogger buzz in my decision to acquire Gillespie and I. And that always makes me a little nervous — will it live up to high expectations? We’ll see …

  5. I would put aside the completist urge and read the first four Patrick Melrose books in chronological order. I’m sure Mother’s Milk works well as a standalone novel, but as they almost amount to a ‘roman fleuve’ it would be a bit like turning to the last chapter of a whodunnit before you even begin.

    • Richard, thank you for sharing your perspective. I have to admit it’s been nagging at me a bit. My completist urges run in two directions: reading Booker nominees, and reading a series in order. I think you’re right that it’s best to read Melrose from the beginning. I’m not likely to begin this month, but your comment helped me make a decision. Thank you!

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