Saturday, June 9, 2012

Making a List, Checking It Twice

Currently Reading: Inventing Ireland by Declan Kiberd and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Yay!)

The air is heavy with heat, weighing down the bright green vegetable shoots, waving in their pots, decorating my balcony. The sky is a pinky blue-gray, holding on to the last vestiges of sunlight before slipping under the blanket of night. A fan whirrs, tub water runs. The smell of cilantro and lemon juice hang in the air. A Saturday ended, with nothing accomplished at home- I have calls to make, errands to run, articles to write. Yet the stillness begs me to pause and breathe and soak it in, that I may actually be part of these moments. A good time to reflect and ultimately, write.

Although my days are no longer regulated by the pattern of school days, I still experience an instinctual thrill at the onset of summer, a deep longing and anticipation for warm nights, swimming in the pool, the smell of barbeque smoke and new-mown grass, the taste of fresh veggies and fruit, and the freedom to read for hours on end. Preferably in a hammock. With a cold glass of lemonade. And a tomato to munch on.


Obviously my schedule is not as free as it once was, and my reading opportunities are no different now than they were this winter, but I still find myself making that summer reading list, daydreaming about the hours of summer reading stretching ahead of me. What is it about summer that awakens this desire?

Perhaps it's because I have always associated summer with transformation. Summer is what changes you from, say, a mere third grader to the hallowed status of the fourth grader. It propels you forward, preparing you for what is ahead. But at the same time, it holds the promise of restoration, of rejuvenation, as it gives us an excuse, an allowance to relax and breathe deeper. Dishes can wait, obligations can take a break, for it is summer time and if my book wants to be read, then I must oblige it. I look forward to slowing down, breathing deeper, and discovering life both in and out of the pages of a book.

Making lists is one of my favorite things to do and a summer reading list is like ice cream on a brownie- deliciousness piled onto deliciousness. Just making my summer reading list was so exciting, I felt as if I was writing my letter to Santa Claus. So exciting, in fact, that I showed it to my husband several times and to my sister twice. (They were very nice about it and pretended to be half as excited as I was. Thanks, guys!) And now I get to share it with you! Although I am sure I will add to it as the summer progresses, here is my official Summer Reading List 2012.

Jane Eyre
Inventing Ireland
Midnight in Peking   (Finished in two days)
Tenant of Wildfell Hall (also being read by my blogging friend Jillian)
The Homemade Pantry (cookbook)
The Sevenwaters Trilogy (YA, maybe, but perfect for my Ireland-homesick heart)
The Wilder Life (memoir)
The Shadow of Night (a much anticipated fantasy read)
Isle of the Saints (Irish history book)
Lady Gregory's Complete Irish Mythology (are we sensing a pattern here?)
The Bluest Eye (my second Toni Morrison)
People of the Book (a little inspiration before grad school begins)
The Hunger Games series (why not? It's summer)
On Celtic Tides 
Annie's Ghosts (a genealogy memoir)
Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (because I am and I do)
The Origin of Species 
And add some Louisa May Alcott books and a Yeats and/or Lady Gregory biography, and I will be good to go. I think it's a nice mix of "just for fun", historical, and classic fiction books. Just the way I like it.

At the end of August, I'll look back and see how I did.

Are you making summer reading lists? I'd love to hear about them.. and get some more ideas for mine!


  1. This sounds like a lovely summer plan! I'm probably going to re-read Jane Eyre pretty soon too! I can't wait to know what you think of Tenant. (I love it so far!) Yeats and Alcotts are favorites of mine. And also, I crave that Wilder book. :)

    1. I didn't know you were also a Yeats fan. If you're on Facebook, I can send you the pictures I took of the Yeats manuscripts I saw in Dublin! (We had no idea the National Library was having an exhibit on Yeats and we just wandered into it. It was one of the best experiences of the entire trip.)

  2. I'll look forward to your thoughts on some of these books, especially the one on Christianity and evolution (although I'm a Christian who doesn't believe in it). I always reread Jane Eyre in August, because that's when I first discovered it.

    1. Thanks for coming on board to the blog! I love that you reread Jane Eyre in August... a perfect tradition. I'll definitely include my thoughts on Saving Darwin as well... I think it's going to be a fun reading summer!


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