If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Reading List: Update Edition

Last month I laid out my summer reading list but shortly afterwards I ended up at my favorite used bookstore with a $40 credit.  Consequently my list has expanded considerably.  I also realized I had a few books leftover from Christmas that I had never read.  So here is the addendum to my original list:

  1. Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky
  2. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  3. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
  4. Nerilka's Story by Anne McCaffrey
  5. The Mystery of Breathing by Perri Klass
  6. Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin
  7. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins
  8. Primitive People by Francine Prose
  9. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

So we're up to a total of 22 books to finish before the semester starts.  How am I doing, you ask? From the original list I read most of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales.  I'm not a big fan of short stories or rather I enjoy them but I have a hard time reading one after another.  So I was very surprised that I managed to get through most of this book before I had to pick up a novel.  For the fairy tale lovers out there, there are some amazing ones in this little collection.

I also found Jane Smiley's Private Lives at the used bookstore and have finished that.  It was an interesting read as it portrayed a woman's life from 1883 to 1942, a time period that you don't normally get in a modern novel.  However I am often disappointed with Jane Smiley and this was no different.  I think I'm always hoping for another A Thousand Acres and never get it.

For book club we read Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Saves Herself.  Since book club is meeting tomorrow and there is a lot to say about this book, I'll leave that for another post.

From the above list I've read The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  For the life of me I could not remember why I had placed this book on my Young Adult To Re-Read list.  Not that it wasn't enjoyable but rather that I had no specific recollection of reading it originally (although I must have) and it didn't seem like the kind of book I would have particularly enjoyed as a young adult. Some interesting historical fiction but too much silly romance.

I also read Francine Poser's Primitive People.  I discovered Francine Poser when I picked up the book of fairy tales in the book store.  Her fairy tale was the first I read in the collection and the reason I bought the book.  She has a very engaging style and I do love satire.  This may not have been her best novel but was fun none-the-less.  I'm looking forward to reading more.

I'm also pages away from finishing Fire in the Blood.  I adored Suite Francaise and while this is not as magnificent, it is a beautifully written little book.  I've pretty much devoured it in a day.

So that is 6 down and 16 to go.  For book club next month we are turning back to fiction and will read Father of the Rain.  In the meantime I think I'll visit with Carson McCullers.   I am a big fan of A Member of the Wedding and don't know how I've gotten this far without reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.


Drax said...

Can't believe you've never read Heart!

Annie said...

I loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was a child, and I do remember re-reading it as an adult. I think what I remembered the most as a child was the character's independence and her willingness to be herself even though she was at risk with the restrictions of her society- so I remember it as being a positive influence.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is my favorite Carson McCuller's novel. I read it when I was probably 17 or 18. Somehow I came across it. After that, I read the rest of her work. I re-read it once as an adult, and I think it's time I read it again. I have a copy just waiting for the time.