Bookish Plans for Summer 2021

June 04, 2021

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

My favorite thing about summer is more reading time. It’s too hot and humid to do much outside, so why not put my feet up, have a cold drink, and read a book? I have a lot more fun compiling a summer reading list than I do a summer fun list—all those luscious books waiting to be read! My problem is I always choose too many books to get through. But that’s OK, there’s always fall, and winter, and spring, and NEXT summer!

While my usual and very scientific method of choosing my next read is “it sounds good and I feel like reading it,” for my summer reading lists I sometimes add a couple of specific types of books: a writer’s biography, a classic, a comfort reread, a long book, and so on. I’ve also started mixing in a couple of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide recommendations when I can get my hands on them (click here to get your own free guide). Since I tend to read mostly older books, the Reading Guide helps me stay in better touch with contemporary authors.

My summer reading list is not intended to be hard and fast—it’s just supposed to help me expand my choices a little from what I typically read. A gentle nudge rather than a push, so to speak. Here is a tentative list of books I’m thinking of dipping into this summer (all book titles are links if you’d like to learn more):


For my long book, I’m thinking of reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. I’m not sure how to describe this one, except that it involves magic and the politics of the Napoleonic wars (?)  People seem to love it or hate it.

I’m very interested in Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, by Ruth Franklin for my writer’s biography. I also just received a copy of May Sarton’s Plant Dreaming Deep, which is more of a journal/memoir than a biography. It appeals to me because I loved Journal of a Solitude and The House by the Sea. Of course, I could kill two books with one stone (long book and writer biography) and tackle my still-unread Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (clocking in at more than 600 pages of dense type and footnotes)!

A friend gifted me Tirzah Price’s Pride and Premeditation and we’ll be reading it together. This “clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice…reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.” Sounds fun!

This year, I’m throwing some poetry into the mix with Arias, by Sharon Olds.

I’ve been very slowly rereading Agatha’s Christie’s books in order, so I’ll probably pull The Man in the Brown Suit off my home library shelf to serve as my comfort reread.

I’m undecided on reading a classic. At the moment, I haven’t got one lined up, but that may change. 

I’m in the hold line to read Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me, a Modern Mrs. Darcy recommendation. Many people are ahead of me, so I hope I get to this one before summer’s end. 

In the meantime, I’ll likely pick up another Modern Mrs. Darcy rec that I already had on my radar: Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro. 

Between my own shelves and my excellent local library, I’m spoiled for choice. No matter how hot it gets this summer, my reading chair and a stack of good books will be waiting.

Have you read any of my summer book choices? What are you particularly looking forward to reading this summer? 

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  1. Hey Kathy, the only book on your list that I’ve read is Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I read it several years ago and don’t remember much about it. What I do remember is that I didn’t like it a lot, just enough to keep reading. I will be interested to know what you think of it, if you do in fact read it.

    1. Cheryl--I will certainly let you know. I'm not afraid to abandon a book I don't like, especially one that long. I've also been known to skim through! We shall see. I haven't started it yet.

  2. I meant to say too that I am reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett at the moment. I’m really enjoying it. Have you read it? It’s much better than I expected it to be.

    1. I have read (and enjoyed) Bel Canto, and several of Patchett's books. I really like her writing.

  3. Kathy looks like your summer reading list is going to keep you very busy. I am doing some reading as well. Have a couple of Luanne Rice's books waiting on the shelf for me. Take care and have a great weekend. Hugs!

    1. Debbie--Luanne Rice seems like excellent summer reading. Enjoy!