Do you know that old song from Carousel, that goes “June is busting out all over…”? Well, here in Spokane, June has been pouting and sulking, and hiding behind clouds and 65-degree temperatures. But I am adamant: school is out, and it’s summer, by golly, and time for summer reading!
I don’t actually know whether the rest of you read seasonally. I tend to read more spooky things in the fall, and more Dickens in the winter. And for me, for several years now, summer is the time for Really Long Classics I Haven’t Read Yet. One whole summer I spent reading the Chinese 18th-century novel The Story of the Stone. One summer, I read Of Human Bondage and The Brothers Karamazov. Another summer, I read War and Peace. Last summer, it was a whole bunch of Greek and Roman things I’d never read: the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Metamorphoses. I like to save the real chunksters for summertime; I have more brain space and more time available, because I’m not teaching in summer. I’m doing research, but the demands on me are fewer, because I don’t have classes to prep or students in my office. Long classics, ahoy!
So this summer, my plan is to read Don Quixote and The Tale of Genji. I have read shamefully little from Spanish, having focused on French and German, and I’ve got Edith Grossman’s 2003 translation at hand. I look forward to commenters setting me straight as I bumble through it. And The Tale of Genji also promises to be a hoot: reports to follow.
I have lots of other fun books planned (some Nabokov, some John Crowley, the new Laurie King novel, lots of excellent tidbits, maybe even another theme month like Teresa and I did in January) but that’s the backbone of what I’m going to be reading this summer. What about you? Do you do summer reading? Beach reading? Seasonal reading of any description? Did you do summer reading programs at your library when you were a kid? What will you be reading in the next couple of months?