Here in Florida, summer—at least the weather part of it—won’t be over for another couple of months. However, since kids are back in school and fall decorations fill the stores, I’m going to pretend summer is over and do a summer reading round up. Maybe that will help fall get here sooner?
I broke with my usual summer reading traditions (no Wilkie Collins this summer—I missed him—and no writer’s biography). Instead, I’ve been steadily reading from my own shelves as well as consolidating my massive TBR (“to be read” for the uninitiated) list. As I have time, I’ve been looking up each book on my current list and deciding whether or not I still want to read it. If I do, I’m creating a brand new TBR list. As I do this, I’m choosing a book here and there from the list to check out of the library. Nerdy as it sounds, it’s been a lot of fun!
Here are just a few highlights of my summer’s reading:
From my own shelves:
The appropriately-titled So Many Books, So Little Time, by Sara Nelson. Nelson’s chronicle of a year’s worth of reading a book a week woven into the events of her private life. I loved this and have added it to my shelf of “books about books.”
Old Filth, Jane Gardam. New-to-me author, and so good! I read about this on Danielle Simpson’s blog, and had picked up this copy at my library’s bookstore for a dollar. I will be reading more of Gardam’s work.
Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff, was another library bookstore purchase. This fascinating biography had me from the first page: “Among the most famous women to have lived, Cleopatra VII ruled Egypt for twenty-two years. She lost a kingdom once, regained it, nearly lost it again, amassed an empire, lost it all. A goddess as a child, a queen at eighteen, a celebrity soon thereafter, she was an object of speculation and veneration, gossip and legend, even in her own time.”
From my enormous TBR list:
The Awakening of Miss Prim, Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera. I was disappointed in this book. It sounded like the perfect read for me, but I was left with an overall feeling of “meh.” Still, it did have this lovely passage: “Miss Prim sipped her tea and nestled down into the storeroom armchair. She too believed in the value of the little things. Her first coffee in the morning drunk from her Limoges porcelain cup. Sunlight filtering through the shutters of her room, casting shadows on the floor. Dozing off over a book on a summer’s afternoon. The look in the children’s eyes when they told you about some fact they’d just learned. It was from the little things that the big ones were made, it definitely was.”
The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters. Just the right amount of spooky, and a story I keep thinking about.
And while I didn’t read a writer’s biography, I did read Agatha Christie at Home—and now I want to visit Greenway, her home in Devon!
There were also comfort rereads: Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders and Death in the Air (also known as Death in the Clouds), and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart. (I forgot all about The Crystal Cave…still need to check that out at the library.)
As far as reading challenges go, aside from the Mount TBR challenge, I’ve been slacking. Time to get back to the classics and the Vintage Mystery Challenge.