Summer Reading List 2011!!!

For some the yard stick for a successful summer vacation is the tan you get, the romance you had, the photos you took, or just the number of adventures you had. For me summer is always judged by how many books I managed to read. Summer is a time of reading, preferably in the shade of a tree on a beach or a dock.  Through books I have had countless adventures, friends, and dare I say it? Even crushes. Who could read about Mr. Darcy or Edward Rochester or Mr. Knightly or Gilbert Blythe without getting the tiniest bit smitten?

I even remember and ponder my vacations in terms of books I read during that time. I’ll never forget the summer I discovered Agatha Christie for the first time through a copy of The Orient Express on the old battered bookshelf at my family cottage. The first summer I spent away from home in Washington D.C. I read Catch-22. For my first summer job as a camp health officer I stayed awake all night to take care of a patient by reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince next to his bedside. My Yay!-I-got-my-B.A.!!!-vacation to Hawaii to see my brother was the summer I read  The Pirates!: In An Adventure with Scientists and Coyote Road.  On my honeymoon I read Mrs. McGinty’s dead by Agatha Christie and Wilkie Collins’ the Moonstone.  The Summer/Fall of 2010 I read a bunch, Gilgamesh, Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe, Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett, and Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter among others. Of course these are only the highlights. I am incapable of reading just one book at a time. I can’t help myself.  I want to read everything all at once and the closest I can get to actually achieving that is to read at least five at a time.

This summer, I have two fun goals: Goal 1: read all of the books that my husband and I have set out to read & Goal 2: read as many of the books as possible on my personal list. I hope to blog a little about each book as I get through them.  In the hopes of facilitating a future blog and to keep me honest I am posting my lists here.

Ellen & Matt’s Summer Reading List  (we’re still finalizing this, it will be five or six books when we’re done if we can talk my little sister-in-law to join us)

Matt’s picks: Gravity’s Rainbow by T. Pynchon

The Once and Future King by T.H. White <–Done! 🙂

Ellen’s picks: Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

Arabian Nights

For years Matt and I have made a book club of two; picking books we’d read together and discussing them as we made our way through. Together we’ve read: Candide, Paradise Lost, and the Scarlet Letter among others.  It is one of my favorite things we do together and it has been far too long since we made a book list.  I’m excited!!

Ellen’s Summer Reading List (in no particular order)

Slippage by Harlan Ellison

Alone Against Tommorow by Harlan Ellison

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde <–Done! 🙂

Changes by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher

The Emily of New Moon series by my heroine L.M. Montgomery <–Done! 🙂

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

The 7 percent solution by Nicholas Meyer<–Done! 🙂

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

The Collusus of Marusi by Henry Miller

Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift

Big Fish by Daniel Wallace<–Done! 🙂

Othello by Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare

A Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck <–Done! 🙂

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury<–Done! 🙂

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Orsinian Tales by Ursula K. LeGuin

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen <–Done! 🙂

Wise Children by Angela Carter

100 selected poems by e.e. cummings

Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins <–Done! 🙂

The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit

Volume One of the Journey to the West

Don Quixote by Cervantes

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Paradise Regained by John Milton

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Guns, Germs, and Steel by J. Diamond

Arabian Nights

The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

The Riddle Master Trilogy by Patricia McKillip

Is this list ridiculously long and over-ambitious? Yes, I daresay it is. However, by reaching so high even if I get through only a quarter of this list, I can be assured of having read a great many excellent books I’ve long wanted to read. Come Fall I will be able to rest easy knowing I had an awesome summer of reading and I’m the better for having made the effort.  Some of these I’ve started reading before but never got the chance to finish, others will be a first attempt at reading them, while others will be a re-read just for fun. Let the adventures begin!

Prairie grass from Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, IL by Ellen Schneider


186 thoughts on “Summer Reading List 2011!!!

  1. I am stealing the following books from your list:

    A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

    Big Fish by Daniel Wallace

    Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (I totally bought this over winter break and have meant to read it)

    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

    The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis (I started reading this a few years back and never got past book 1)

  2. Yaaaaaaaaay!!! I’m super excited that you’re stealing books from this list, Bethany! 🙂

    I bought Cannery Row when I started grad school and I have vowed that this is the summer that I read it. I love Steinbeck for Grapes of Wrath & Travels with Charley. I’m excited to read his short fiction.

    The Foundation Trilogy I got 3/4 of the way through and then life got in the way then I forgot what was happening and so now I am determined to start afresh. The 3/4 I read were splendid.

    Book One of the Space Trilogy I actually started reading during my second field season but then I misplaced the book and for months I was bummed that I probably left it in the field house. Guess what? I found it when we moved. Hah!

    Virginia Woolf is an author I’ve never read but have long been interested in.

    We will have to chat more and encourage each other in between science-y real-life things. 🙂

    • Be aware that Virginia Woolf can be depressing.
      That is what attracted me to Sylvia Plath… I also have depression. her poems are wonderful. But someone stole her book from me in the nursing home I was at.

  3. Summer reading is the same for, counting the days till summer comes and time seems to slow down. It all started for me when I was sixteen and lifeguarding, outside on my breaks I would pull out a book for next years schools reading list and prepare. What started out as future plaining become a hobby that I love and look forward to ever year. I always start out the same way reading all my favorite classics , Austin, Shakespeare, and few American classics then I move on to new finds from that year.

    • I love that timeless feeling too. I already re-read both Pride and Prejudice and Emma this year. Even though I am going to try to concentrate on largely new-to-me books who am I kidding? I’ll probably re-read Jane Eyre and Persuasion too because I just can’t help myself. :-p Have you read any of the Shakespeare plays on my list, Clarkee? I read Taming of the Shrew once before a few years ago but I want to re-read it and I’ve never read the other two. Which of his plays is your favorite?

  4. I agree! I may start in on Cannery Row once field work settles down into a routine. Hopefully in the next week or two?

    Hope your summer is off to a great start!

    • Yay! I hope your field work is well begun. Summer is alright so far. Still trying to finish and drinking more coffee than is strictly good for me. I’m almost halfway through the Once and Future King though which is exciting. 🙂

    • Thanks, Mikalee! 🙂 I’m a biologist so I’m a wee bit biased where Darwin is concerned. Voyage of the Beagle was my knockdown absolute must-read pick of the summer. I’m already on the second chapter and I’m geeking out.

  5. hey! great one! 🙂
    recently i too have found making a list is the best way to counter one’s lethargy to read. and it’s been good to me so far 🙂


  6. Glad to know that I’m not the only over ambitious one when it comes to reading. Summer time is my big time for reading too, but now that I’m officially done with school I hope to make it a year round thing. I also have about 30 books on my to read list (with plenty more that I haven’t bought yet). To your post I want to say:

    LOVED Brave Story. That was definitely one I could not put down.

    Catcher in the Rye is a big favorite of mine. I’m thinking of re-reading it this summer.

    Moby Dick is, well, interesting to say the least. I liked it better the second time I read it than the first. It’s really an acquired taste.

    The Once and Future King is really good as well. I should really re-read it sometime soon. I haven’t read it in such a long time.

    • Thanks for your comment! I’m happy to meet another Brave Story fan. I thought the book especially relevant to anyone undergoing the graduate school experience. Have you ever read The Neverending Story? I think the two are a lot alike in all the best ways. Happy reading and congratulations on finishing school!

      • Yea, Neverending Story was very good! It was interesting to read especially since I’ve watched the movie several times when I was a kid. Fun to see the differences between the two.

  7. What a great reading list. I may have to add some of these myself. And L. M. Montgomery! She’s the sort of author I forget about until I hear her mentioned, and then I remember how much I loved both Anne and Emily when I was a kid.

    This is the very best kind of post: One that gets me reading. Thank you.

  8. So nice to see a book list that’s not composed of “books I think other people think I should be reading”. But I warn you, start with “One for the money” and you could be on a slippery slope to read ALL the Stephanie Plum novels (and there are seventeen, aren’t there?) Three cheers for you for having so many books on your list – I have a stack of seven books on my bedside table, plus two on the floor (they’re the “if I can really be bothered” books) and that was just my last trip to the library. I think reading isn’t a hobby or a pastime, it’s an addiction. I hope they never make a patch.

  9. Ellen, I just love your reading list for the summer. I feel better about mine now, since I was afraid I was too ambitous in the number of books I’ve chosen. At least there are others out there who are also as ambitious as I am!

    You’re reading some of my favorites, including Once and Future King, which was a wonderful story. Call of the Wild has been an immensely influential story in my life.

    Also, just a small thing, I’m glad to see that not everyone links to Amazon. I link to my local independent bookstore in the small town where I live, but it is so nice to see someone talking about books and not aiming everyone to Amazon for them.

    • Thanks, Rosemary, I’m glad my book list made you feel better about yours. I think ambition is important–if you don’t try you’ll certainly never succeed. Good luck on your list! I hope you make it farther than you think you will. 🙂

      It honestly never occurred to me to link to Amazon. Despite my groaning bookshelves I honestly prefer to get books from the public library. Most of the books on my group list are library books. If I must buy a book I prefer to get them used or from a local independent store too. 🙂

  10. What great recommendations! I love “A Room of One’s Own” so much I’ve incorporated it into my email address–kownroom@ . . .
    And congrats on FP-ed! Hang on for the ride—————

  11. wowowow!! yes, this is a long and ambitious (but fun!) list. I’m starting my summer list with “Bossypants” by Tina Fey. By the end of the summer, I hope to make my way to something a lot less serious! 😉

  12. Very nice; I’ve read a few of those and think you’ll enjoy them. You’ve got a nice variety of light reading and heavy stuff, with some in between. The Jane Yolen one is really interesting; it’s a different take on a Holocaust book than I’d read before. Robin Mckinley is amazing, and there are some good classics on your list.

  13. Emily of New Moon specifically Emily Climbs. . .*sigh* Absolute favorite from young adulthood. I still read it and am utterly enamored. . .a first kiss. . .the “flash.” Bradbury! Say no more. I must try to persuade you to read Dandelion Wine at summer’s onset. It is a yearly tradition for me and I think you will love his prose/narrative. Enjoy devouring all those texts! 🙂

  14. There’s only a few books out of your list that I’ve read, of which I must say, The Emily of New Moon series came as a surprise.
    I don’t see too many people going for those kind of books anymore because of their Canadian-old-world style, which may seem jaded and uninteresting.
    It is, however, a really delightful read and gives this very homely felt that I recall liking very much (I read the series about 5 years ago when I was 13).

    Also, your list serves as a reminder to me of all the books I’ve been lusting for, but haven’t been able to lay my hands on!

    • Thanks for posting, Devika! I am a lifelong fan of L.M. Montgomery and the old-world Canadian charm of her work is one of the things I love. Reading about Anne in Avonlea is like going home. I’m looking forward to discovering Emily of New Moon. Good luck in your book quest and happy reading!

  15. What a great reading list! I tell everyone this, and I’m going to tell you as well. Whether or not you like Catcher In the Rye, I suggest reading his other work. He has a few books on the Glass family (Franny and Zooey being a great one) that is so different from Catcher.

    Good luck, and happy reading!

    • Franny and Zooey was the first and only book of Salinger’s that I read. I loved it and it inspired me to run out and buy his other books which have since sat on my bookshelf. Thanks for your comment, hopefully I get some momentum going and read more about the Glass family in the autumn. 🙂

      • I’m so glad to hear that you’ve read it. And books sitting on the shelf unread…I know that one too well. I might have more books on my shelves that I haven’t read than those I have. It’s horrible! 😛

  16. I love this method of keeping track of your summers, it’s far useful than mine, which consists of A). how many women I “meet” B). how many times I get drunk and C). which as an unfortunate side-effect of B, is how much of the summer I’vo forgotten by autumn! I deffinetly prefer your style and I intend to, if not replace Mine with it completely, then at least to incorporate it. Thanks for potentially breaking one of my worst habits :).

  17. You will love Emily of New Moon – I haven’t read it in ages, but enjoyed it just as much as the Anne series. My seven year old was just asking me this morning what my favorite book was – Anne of Green Gables, absolutely! I’ve been meaning to read the Once and Future King as well, so I’ll be putting that on my summer list. I’m excited that I happened upon your blog – I’ve been focusing on children’s books in my blog, and its nice to be reminded of all the wonderful “grown-up” books out there for the summer!

    • I love children’s books! Someday I hope to get a couple of mine published. I will definitely check out your blog, I’m always looking for new children’s books worth reading. Thanks for posting, the Anne series is one of my favorites too. 🙂

  18. Most of the reading list is unfamiliar to me, but now there are at least a couple that I have to add to my Bucket List. I just may have to give Woolf another try and some more C.S Lewis.

    Currently reading The Oxford Book of English Verse with my 11 year old. My 8 year old is giving try to the New Oxford Book of Children’s Verse.

    Up next, The Collected Works of William Shakespeare, Doctor Faustus, a couple of Ted Dekker books and Taras Shevchenko: A Life (research for another project)

  19. I couldn’t agree more. What else are you supposed to do during the summer other than sit under the shade of a tree and sip iced tea while flipping pages of your favorite book? I am going to steal The Catcher and the Rye from your list. I’m not sure how I have managed to go my whole life without reading it.

    Nice post

    • I know! I can’t believe I haven’t read Catcher yet either. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for years taunting me. Happy reading, hopefully this summer will be the one when we both finish it. 🙂

  20. Will definitely try some of these books out, May I recommend “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte and “Falling Leaves” by Adeline Yen Mah

  21. I would like to read all of them but I won’t be able to:P coz I’m not into reading like you but yeah I’ll read as much I can especially ….The seven percent solution…It sounds quite exicitng:) and you’ve got a gr8888 blog and I’ve subscribed tooo:))

  22. That’s such a nice “long” list 😉 I might steal a few too. I remember reading Wilkie Collins’ the Moonstone as part of my course work at school and the Orient Express recently made me fall in love with Agatha Christie all over again.

    • Thanks, Shil! Agatha Christie is one of my all time favorite authors. I remember weeping when I discovered I had read all of her Poirot novels and story collections and there weren’t any more. Have fun stealing some good reading ideas! Have you read The Woman in White? I found Collins’ portrayal of the female characters rather fascinating.

  23. I love lists – always a challenge. Apart from the Shakespeare, I have only read about 2 of the books on your list!
    I have happy memories of reading all of The Borrowers books while on a summer vacation with my parents. My mother was upset because I refused to look at the scenery. She was right in a way, because I have no idea where we went!

    One of the most exciting things that happened to me last year: I was visiting a geology museum in Cambridge (England) and discovered that the museum holds the collection of rocks assembled by Darwin while on the voyage of the Beagle.

    • The Borrowers is on my radar of books I want to read sometime fairly soon–they sound splendid. Did you know that Studio Ghibli made a movie based on the Borrowers? It’s coming to the US this February and I’m super pumped! Hopefully I can read the book before I watch the movie. Visiting a geology museum in Cambridge sounds like exactly the sort of thing I want to do when/if I get the chance to go there. Were Darwin’s rocks on display? Happy reading and thanks for posting!

      • Yes – the rocks were on display! A small section of the museum is devoted to the Voyage of the Beagle.
        I hope that you do get to Cambridge one day and make time to visit the small museums. Some of them are a bit eccentric, but all are packed with treasures.

  24. I LOVE Briar Rose so I really recommend that! It is funny that you have a book club of two. My boyfriend and I tend to select a book and I read it and he listens to it. It is a lot of fun! I’m glad that we are not the only ones.

    • I’m excited to read Briar Rose, I will definitely be blogging about it when I get there. My husband and I have been doing our little book club since our early dating days–many happy days were spent making lists, exploring libraries and bookstores, reading in coffee shops, and discussing everything. I’m glad we’re not the only pair of book worms out there either. 🙂 Thanks for posting!

    • I’m kind of obsessed with Jasper Ffordes novels. I’ve been hopelessly and happily hooked since reading The Eyre Affair. I wish the fellow would write faster which is incredibly selfish on my part since he is really very prolific as it is. Glad to meet another Fforde ffan. 🙂

  25. Wow, that is ambitious for summer reading, but go for it! In one of those weird synchronicity connections, I was reading SOMETHING lately where the main character had to read GRAVITY’S RAINBOW, which I had never heard of . . . and now here it pops up on your blog (which I found through Freshly Pressed, btw.) I think I may have to check it out of the library.

    Anyway, my favorite summer reading memory was picking up a big, hardcover edition of GONE WITH THE WIND at a yard sale and reading it straight through to the tear-jerking end. It has remained my favorite (like an old, comfy sweater) book since. Enjoy your reading this summer!

    • Thanks for commenting, Shelley. I love that you shared your beautiful memory and that you used “synchronicity” in a sentence. Gone with the Wind is on my long-term to read list. I remember it was the favorite book of my middle school English teacher but I’ve just never got around to reading it. If it’s a comfy sweater book that just adds extra incentive. 🙂 Enjoy your reading this summer too! I probably won’t start Gravity’s Rainbow until July so check back for my thoughts. 🙂

  26. I laughed when you wrote about being smitten with Mr. Darcy, Gilbert Blythe, Mr. Knightly and Mr. Rochester. I’ve always felt the same way! 🙂 You’ve picked some lovely books to read for the summer, I hope you enjoy your list. Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  27. Wow, that is quite an ambitious list! Good luck with your reading! I will be happy to complete a handful of books this summer but you have motivated me to try for more!

    • I’m glad my list is inspiring you. The picture of the dock is one I took at the cottage under the tree I most love to read under. I hope you can enjoy some of these books at your own special place too this summer. 🙂

  28. Ah, I see you’re reading classics and what my old CA teacher calls ‘meat and potatoes books’. Personally, I can’t help relishing good old YA substance-free books during the summer. I get enough heavy literature during English class. I wish I had your drive.
    Congrats on the Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  29. Great List! Have to look closely at some of these.

    I think it’s actually Matt’s list that is long and ambitious… simply because Gravity’s Rainbow is on there. It is my favorite book… sort of in a class all its own, but it did take me twenty five years to read it. I would highly recommend using a web concordance to help keep track of what’s going on. It actually makes perfect sense once the web is untangled, but it is a dense, sticky web.

    • Thanks, Bill! Yeah, Matt is reading it now and I suspect I will not get through it as quickly as he since he’s already in the middle of the text. I will definitely check out a web concordance, that is a great idea.

  30. Hi, I’m new to your blog, but I LOVE summer reading! I used to go to the book store and buy whatever books were on the school suggested summer reading book table.

    I love the Once and Future King, and the Space Trilogy is a fabulous, but don’t give up in the first two. The third one – The Hideous Strength – is the one that is absolutely spectacular, and if you must, read the third one first, because then the first two will seem more interesting.

    My favorite L.M. Montgomery book that never gets much love is The Blue Castle. I highly recommend it.

    The Call of the Wild is a classic, but The Sea Wolf by Jack London was much more captivating for me. Any time I think I’m having a bad day, a Jack London short story is a surefire way to make me appreciate my pillow and shower.

    Have you ever read The Plague? Camus normally makes me depressed and concerned with the state of humanity, but The Plague is one of the most uplifting stories I have ever read, in a bizarre way.

    There are a lot of books on your list I haven’t read, so I should probably leave work immediately and head to the beach with my nook and stop playing around!

    • Thanks for visiting the technicolorlilypond, Charlsiekate! I really appreciate your reading suggestions, I am adding them to my sticky note list. I have never read Camus but I’m always up for a genuinely uplifting read. I am shocked that I have never heard of the Blue Castle. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! Happy reading on the beach. 🙂

  31. Pingback: Summer Reading List 2011!! (via technicolorlilypond) « Fiction was too banal for her…

  32. I do a ton of reading on my NookColor so when I run out of ideas I am going to pick a few from your list. Great ideas!

  33. You basically have my exact taste in books judging by that list. Thanks for some ideas of some to read. I love the Ray Bradbury Martian Chronicles – might try and re-read those at some point. Good luck! Emma

  34. How wonderful, I find it facinating that you remember holidays by what books you read and vice-versa. And I also love how you and your hubby compare books and have reading challenges. My long-time boyfriend has no interest in reading. Aw! More for me 🙂

  35. Wow, I feel getting through both part 1 and 2 of Don Quixote on it’s own would be impressive!

    Cannery Row and The Foundation Trilogy (there are two other you can get to go along with this, a prelude who’s name escapes me, and I, Robot) are among my favourite books of all time so you’ll have a great Summer!

  36. For your next list, I highly recommend:

    Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (crazy long, but crazy good)
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens (crazy long, but crazy good)
    Villette by Charlotte Bronte
    Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (crazy long, but crazy good)
    Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
    Love Is An Orchid by Abigail Kloss
    Deep Within Creative Minds by Abigail Kloss

    Enjoy the summer!

    • Thanks, yp25, for the recommendations! I actually have not read any of those books. I’m sitting here with a sticky note pad and a fountain pen amassing a stellar reading list for next year. Thanks for reading and enjoy your summer too!

    • Bleak House is AWESOME and involves a spontaneous combustion!

      Villette is one of my favorite books before. I second this motion.

  37. Loved this post! I don’t think your list is overly long or ambitious… I happen to have over 30 library books under my bed though – Maybe a bi-product of being a librarian? Summer is also my time to catch up on my reading list.
    Btw: I love love love Briar Rose by Jane Yolen!!

    • Bless you and all librarians! I happen to have been raised by a pair of world class reference librarians so I am completely and unabashedly biased for libraries. I love Jane Yolen for her poetry and short fiction, this will be the first novel of hers I’ve read and I’m pumped. 🙂

  38. This is a great reading list– very ambitious and lots of classics– I hope you don’t sleep much or watch TV. From this list, Moby Dick is on my summer reading list. I’ve wanted to read it for years and I’m finally going to do it.

  39. You’ve reaffirmed my faith in quiet afternoons with a book and a loved one! Your list isn’t too long at all. For three years now I’ve managed to read over 100 books a year. All you have to do is want to do it (and avoid TV).

    What a great list, by the way. How’d you come up with it? I find sharing lists a great way to discover new things to read or to think about things I’ve already read.

    Your authors reminded me of the following. Enjoy!

    The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, To A God Unknown (or The Pearl) by John Steinbeck, Into Thin Air by John Krakauer, the poems of Wislawa Szymborska, and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

    Keep doing great things … and let em know how I can help!

    • Bless you, Sean, that is one of the kindest things anybody’s ever said to me. I hope you have many happy afternoons reading with your best beloveds. Luckily I do want to read and my husband and I don’t have T.V. so who knows? I might just make it.

      In answer to your question, I basically just made a list of everything in my den I wanted to read. I also spent an afternoon browsing the library catalog and came up with some ideas that way too.

      Thank you so much for the book recommendations! I’ve read Tropic of Cancer and In Cold Blood but the rest are unknown to me. Yay! I too like swapping good reading ideas and I will definitely look these up. 🙂

  40. I’m glad you were able to narrow down your list and have a love of books. It’s always great to see and read about. Unfortunately, my summer list keeps growing 🙂 Every time I see a good book in the stores, or a favorite author of mine comes out with something new and exciting, I have to own it. Not on the Kindle, not on the iPad, but something tangible I can sit with and flip pages. Unfortunately, my free time to read cant keep up with my passion (or wallet). So I’ll have to live vicariously through you instead, ha. Good luck with the list. It looks like you got some great reads on there!

  41. I’ll always remember the start of summers holidays, when my father would on the first saturday take me the 3 main bookshops in our neighborhood. I was allowed to pick as many books as I wanted. He always said “you can never have too many books”. I would come home with huge shopping bags, often larger than I was filled with books and settle into our sofa to start working through them.

    I have a hard time figuring out what books to read so very excited to have someone chose for me! Thanks for compiling the list. (ps how do you come up with yours?)

    • Dear Cordelia, thank you for sharing your childhood memory, it is truly beautiful. I grew up in a household with the same “you can never have too many books,” motto too and I will be grateful always.

      In answer to your question, I came up with my list in a very non-technical way. I walked around my den with my fountain pen and a pad of paper and wrote down all of the books that I a) had yet to read, b) had yet to finish, and c) wanted to re-read. Then I pondered which books from the library I wanted to tackle this summer and added those to the list. That’s it for my personal list.

      To come up with my two picks for my group list I pondered which book I absolutely positively had to read this summer (Voyage of the Beagle) and then I pondered which of the books from my personal list might most appeal to my group buddies (Arabian Nights) and picked that.

      I’m glad you like the list and I hope you have fun reading. Where will you start? 🙂

    • Yes!!!! You know Mr. Fforde has a super awesome webpage which includes updates on all his latest books. If you just Google you will find it right off. Always glad to meet an other Fforde ffan. 😉

  42. I applaud your goal of trying to read all those books, and that is a very ambitious list to try to get through over one summer. How can you read multiple fiction books at once? I can read a fiction and non-fiction book at the same time, but I have to read one fiction book at a time, which means I’ll read through them in about 3 days and then start the next one.

    I’ve got a stack of books to get through as well, and I’m sure I’ll make several trips up to my Barnes & Noble to pick up more once my stack of books to read shrinks a little (it never goes away though).

    Good luck getting through your list.

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Book Nerd. In answer to your question about reading multiple books all I can say is: practice. I guess I’m a fairly quick reader too but I’ve never timed myself. I think reading is like anything else, you just have to find what works for you and resist the temptation to compete with others.

      And bravo for maintaining an ever-present stack of books! I once read somewhere that people who leave a little bit left on their to-do list always have an incentive to keep being productive and I daresay that books aren’t much different. Happy page turning!

  43. I like your summer reading list. Nice choices.
    Especially the following:

    Ray Bradbury
    Jack London
    Herman Melville
    C.S. Lewis

    If I may suggest one for you to check out, Martin Eden by Jack London. Classic aspiring writer reading.

  44. I’ve seen lots of posts about reading this summer (or at least people wanting to read more this summer).

    I noticed lots of series/trilogies in your list. Here are a few more that I’d recommend: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, The Allan Quartermain novels by H. Rider Haggard, and the Lord of the Rings by Tolkein—no reading list is complete without it!

    I’m nearly finished with the first book in the C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy and after that I’m tackling the Wheel of Time series (I’ve already read the first book).

    • Thanks for the recommendations, Ammon! I have read King Solomon’s Mines by Haggard (splendid!) as well as the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien (many times, it is a personal favorite). I would love to read more Allan Quartermain adventures. How did you like book one of the Space Trilogy? I only got as far as book 5 in Wheel of Time before I decided to take an extended leave from the series. It is a splendid series (as far as I got anyway) and someday I’ll go back to it if I hear satisfactory reports on the final book. I hope you like it and happy reading!

  45. This sounds like how I plan to spend my summer, only with a different list, of course. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person out there who prefers reading to tanning!

    Have fun and good luck getting through your list!

  46. Your list brought back so many memories…Ok. Having to look into CS Lewis’ Space Trilogy…not familiar with that one…

    The Foundation Trilogy is one of the cornerstones of Science Fiction, as is the Martian Chronicles.

    If I may suggest some other favorites for future book lists that I think you would probably like, if you haven’t already read them…Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury…oldie but goody…IF you are into short fiction, and you like Edgar Allen Poe, see if you can find Bradbury’s short story: April 2002: Usher II. It is based on the Fall of the House of Usher…but written as a sci fi piece by Bradbury…and has lots of other references to Poe stories in it.

    Two more: 100 Years of Solitude or Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
    and The ScrewTape Letters by CS Lewis.

    • Dear Kim, I suspect that you and I might be kindred spirits based upon your recommendations. I have read Fahrenheit 451, I am into Edgar Allen Poe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is on my winter reading list to come, and I have read the Screwtape Letters. I will definitely try to find “April 2002” and check that out. Thank you!

  47. Pingback: [reading list for (the 2nd half of) 2011] « Hippie In Bloom

  48. I’m stealing LM Montgomery. How about Anne of Green Gables series.
    Pipi Longstocking
    Laura Ingalls Willder series.
    and so many more!

    are you a member of excellent site!!

    sonya m

    • I have read (and adored) all of the books you just recommended except Pipi Longstocking. It’s good to meet a fellow fan. I am on goodreads but I never take the time to do anything with it–I’d rather be reading. 😉 Thanks for posting!

  49. This is fabulous!! Great idea and great choices. I only have one small suggestion, as a total Steinbeck nerd. Cannery Row is great, but Tortilla Flat is even better! Both are set in or near Monterrey and deal with some of the same themes, but I think Tortilla Flat is more unique and better executed. It tells the story of a group of bums, basically, but Steinbeck modeled the stories and the style after Arthurian legend! It’s great fun and one of my top three favorite books ever. Thanks for the great list and happy reading!

  50. One for the Money is SO FUN. I was unsure about them at first, but after the first one I was hooked. They keep getting better and better with each book. I hope you like them!

  51. I love that this is a project you and your husband both share. Both my husband and I love to read, but he doesn’t like anything but non-fiction, especially history and biography, and I enjoy fiction almost exclusively. So it wouldn’t work for us.

  52. If you love L. M. Montgomery, make sure that you don’t miss The Blue Castle. It is a lesser known work, as she wrote it for adults later in her career, but I have adored it ever since a friend of my mother’s gave me a copy when I was just a girl.

  53. The written word is powerful in deed…I too enjoy a great read which I define as one that encapsulates me into the story and enables me to detach from reality for a few hours at a time. I always grab a book for any trip that I take and my favorite place to read is either in a hammock shaded by a giant oak or on a pier/dock. The sound of water is synonnmous with the turning of a book page.

    When I am not reading I also like to try my hand at capturing my own world through writing. I love the list and have decided after my guilty pleasure books, I’m hooked on Iris Johansen’s series (Eve) that I am going to attempt a classic or two…Maybe Catcher or Treasure Island? My favorite classics are Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird…

    Thanks for the post and enjoy your summer lost in the ‘written word’.

    • Thanks! Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird are fabulous reads. Did you ever read the sequel to Little Women? I found Little Men to be just as enchanting. Have a great summer reading some of those classics too! 🙂

  54. I like your list, thanks for the post. It’s a funny thing when we set goals, sometimes we even exceed our expectations. I just finished Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim and really enjoyed it (I posted a piece about it on my blog). I know you have lots of adventure awaiting you, enjoy!

  55. Love your list!

    I don’t have an actual list myself, just a bookcase which is mainly full of books I’ve read, but has a small section of books I still have to get through. I’m setting myself the goal that by the time I go back to Uni in September, everything on my bookshelf will have been read.

    I recently went on an Amazon spree, and, like you, have set myself a bit of a challenge. Among the books I’ve bought is Crime and Punishment, and a hefty non-fic about the Brontes. I’m not doing too badly, I’ve already got through about a book a week for the past month, starting with Submarine by Joe Dunthorne, and The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas. I’m going to get cracking, and swallow up as many as I can.

    I always have to be careful though, because I sometimes start reading too quickly and skim over the words without taking it in. I like to savour books, and read them slowly, but I never do, I always get carried away, like when you’re running downhill, getting faster and faster.

    Thanks for the blog, you’ve inspired me to write more about what I read.

    Good look with your list.

    Best Wishes, Vikki Littlemore.

  56. Funny how we pick our books. As I watched the movie Serendipity, years ago, I noticed that the book the main character was searching for was Love in the Time of Cholera. Recognizing the author to be G.G. Márquez, I knew I had nothing to lose. Read it and enjoyed it, although I enjoyed One Hundred Years of Solitude and other selected stories more. Thank you for your carefully thought out, compiled list. I will refer to it.

    • You know, Georgette, I got interested in reading Love in the Time of Cholera because of Serendipity too. My roommate and I watched that movie together so many times but I still haven’t read the book. I read his book Chronicle of a Death Foretold when I was young and it has really stuck with me but I’ve yet to read anything else of his. Maybe this winter. 🙂 Thanks for posting, I’m glad that you like the list! I hope it brings you many happy hours.

  57. Call of the Wild was good, but I liked White Fang much better. Have you read it?

    I just finished Moby Dick myself a couple of months ago. I has been on my goal of books to read for years! But I am glad that I did. It’s what I expected, and yet a whole lot more too.

    A reading group of two, what a wonderful idea!

  58. Why don’t people ever notice CHAPBOOKS? It’s all Novels, Novels, Novels, never Chapbooks, Poetry or short story collections. My summer reading list:

    T.C. Boyle Short Stories
    Afterpastures (chapbook) by Claire Hero
    If You Must Know (chapbook)
    As I Said (chapbook)
    In the Realm of my Familiar (chapbook)
    Temeraire by Naomi Novik
    The Society On Da Run (by me, I had to add it)
    Island Literary Magazine
    ALIENS UK magazine, Volume 2 (all 23 issues)
    Forgetless by Nick Spencer and three other people

    • Actually, I do have a book of poetry by e.e. cummings on my reading list this summer. Did you read the list? During the school year all I read tends to be short story collections so for summer I try to bulk up my reading diet with novels. Enjoy your chapbooks and magazines. 🙂

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  60. There is an awesome list, except for Moby Dick which I could never get through. Guns, Germs and Steel is fantastic. Enjoy the list it looks awesome!!

  61. Interesting Shakespeare choices, though I think for summer reading I’d definitely want to go with the comedies, but I’d suggest As You Like It and or Much Ado About Nothing (my favorite).

  62. i just found out that our town library has a summer reading program. we just prizes for the number of books we read. they do the same for kids and teen who read. I’m also trying to pay down my library fine.

  63. I think that’s so cute that you and your husband read together. I love reading and I wish my husband and I had similar taste in books.

    • Thanks! You know when I met my husband and I found out his favorite books I was very skeptical that I would ever like them too but then I actually read Tropic of Cancer and other authors he liked and found them to be rather splendid. At least for us we found some common ground, maybe eventually you and your husband will too. Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂

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