Now that I have time to partake in summer reading, I’ve been working on sorting through my giant to-read list to determine what will take precedence this summer.
I’m close to (finally) finishing J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, and when I finish that, my next non-project read will be Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, which I can’t believe I’ve never read. I also hope to complete the next read for my From the Film Back to the Book reading project, Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as Diana Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, about which I’ve heard nothing but good things.
The Classics Club
Starting today, some members of The Classics Club will be reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden as part of the Club’s second Sync Read. I’ve been looking to reread it, and I think that this will be a great opportunity. I should be starting later next week.
For general Club reading, my first priority is to read Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Words cannot express my excitement for this one. Time permitting, I’d like to finish off the Brontë novels – I’ll just have Charlotte’s Shirley and The Professor – so that I can delve into the next stage of discovering their work.
A few other titles I have on my Classics Club horizon are W. Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and Daphne du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek and My Cousin Rachel. I won’t be reading all of those over the summer, but for anyone who has read some of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts on which I should tackle first.
Language Freak Summer Challenge
I will also be partaking in the Language Freak Summer Challenge, hosted by Ekaterina of In My Book. The idea is to read works (and, if you wish, watch movies) in languages you are learning. As a linguaphile, I thought this would be a fantastic challenge.
Here are some questions from Ekaterina:
- What languages do you know? My native language is English, but as far as other languages, it’s difficult to pinpoint which I “know,” as I am more of a dabbler than a learner. For purposes of this, I’ll say I know French, Arabic, and some Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
- What is your history with these languages? I am a heritage language learner of French and, to a lesser degree, Arabic. My dad spoke French to me growing up, but I only achieved fluency after studying it through high school. I now can carry a conversation well, though I’m not nearly as good at understanding television and movies, and I’m still quite a slow reader. I am a beginner in Arabic, as I heard it spoken around me growing up, but only a few words were ever spoken to me. My mom tried to teach it to me some summers in high school (after I finally got my French fluency up), but I got too busy. I took courses in college, but I felt like I was improving reading/writing more than speaking. So a reading challenge would be great for me. As far as Irish and Scottish Gaelic are concerned, I studied these out of sheer personal interest and am an absolute beginner. I began both with independent study, and I then spent a semester in Scotland during which I took a Gaelic class and completed a summer research course on sociolinguistics in Ireland during which I had some lessons in Irish.
- Do you use them or are you out of practice? I don’t use French as often as I’d like, but I will be using it more in the coming weeks. Last time I used Arabic was last summer, and the last time I used Irish was the summer before that, though I did attend a St. Patrick’s Day mass in Irish this year.
- Have you read some books in these languages? Did you like it? I’ve read a few books in French, including some comic books, one of Georges Simenon’s Maigret stories, and Albert Camus’s The Stranger. I remember enjoying the Maigret story I read but really, really not liking The Stranger. The most I’ve read in Arabic or either Irish or Scottish Gaelic is short news articles, poems, or songs.
- What are your plans for the challenge? I plan to read some comic books and at least one full book in French. I’d love to read Le scaphandre et le papillon by Jean-Dominique Bauby, and since Bauby had to “dictate” it using only his left eyelid, I imagine that it’s somewhat concise, which would be good for me. I will try to get my hands on children’s stories or other beginner material in Arabic, Irish, or Scottish Gaelic. And, of course, I’ll be watching a healthy dose of subtitled films, something I already do on my own.
I’m sure all of this will keep me quite busy, but I’m looking forward to not having any (required) reading for classes for a couple months, so hopefully, I can get a large chunk of this read.
What are your summer reading plans?