Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Reading

Summertime, and the reading is easy.

It's summer, and I'm reading. A lot. Maybe more than is normal or healthy. But I just can't stop.

I finished out the school year with Arcadia by Iain Pears. As I said in an earlier post, it wasn't a perfect book, but it was the perfect book for me at that time. In fact, I will probably read it again, just to try to figure out what I liked so much in a book that got very mixed reviews. It reminded me a little bit of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, and a little bit of David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks.

There was a week or more when I just didn't have time for reading (ugh, I can't even believe I typed that). That last week of grading and wrapping up the school year, and then a few days of curriculum mapping. I didn't read much, but I made a lot of lists of books that I planned to read.

Then, summer break. Oh, summer break, I love you.

One of the deepest, most profoundly delicious reading experiences of my life: day after day, sprawled on the bed in the guest bedroom, I reread Marcel Proust's Swann's Way (the Lydia Davis translation). The first time I read Swann's Way I was in my twenties. Now, after having experienced marriage, divorce, remarriage, and years of living and losing and loving, this book was so much more profoundly beautiful to me. This book deserves a full review--later.

Then I read a short novel by Lynne Hugo, Remember My Beauties. This was for a TLC Book Tour, and my review will appear in July.

I followed up that book with Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, which I've been meaning to read for years. Housekeeping is a beautiful, stark, lyrical novel, profoundly moving and strange. Now I can't wait to read Robinson's Gilead.

Now I'm a little more than one hundred pages into Snow by Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk. This is another book I've been meaning to read for a long time. The novel's protagonist is a middle-aged Turkish poet returning to his country after years of exile; he visits a small city to report on an election, but even more importantly, to investigate a rash of suicides of young girls. So far I'm finding Snow strange, immersive, and dreamlike.

So: summer reading is going pretty nicely.

I'd love to know what other people are reading this summer. Let me know what you've been reading, or what you recommend!


bermudaonion said...

It's nice to see you're having such a grand summer!

Lisa said...

Hurrah for days and days of reading! I have Housekeeping on the bookshelves - need to get to it soon, clearly. I loved, loved, loved Gilead and have read that entire trilogy. Gilead was my fave of the three but Home is also very good.

bibliophiliac said...

@bermudaonion-the reward for a grueling school year! Yay!

bibliophiliac said...

@Lisa-Oh, you have to read Housekeeping! And I'm looking forward to Gilead. I've heard so many good things about that book.

Judith said...

You just keep right on reading your head off! This is exactly what you need and how lovely to have the time right now to do it. Go wild with reading, that's the best advice I can give. Reading is relaxing, yet it makes you grow in some many ways. Snow is on my Classics Club List. Everyone I know who has read it says it's marvelous. I'm dying to read Housekeeping.
Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

bibliophiliac said...

@Judith-I'm glad you said that because I do feel a little guilty! I have this feeling I should be super-productive all the time....

Judith said...

If it helps, I know so many people who would tell you that you will be more productive when you want to be, if you allow this "fallowing" time. Research of the brain in recent years continues to emphasize that the brain needs time to engage in relaxing activity to perform optimally. Of course you've heard that, but isn't it hard to let go of reaching for more and more productivity?

And actually the reading life is not pure fallowing. The brain is so engaged, but in an entirely different way than when we are constantly engaging with students, co-workers, friends, and family. Reading is divine introspection.

Just some thoughts from a teacher,

bibliophiliac said...

@Judith-I want to copy out your words into my notebook so I can keep rereading them! Everything in our culture works against what you call "fallowing time." And everything in your comment is so wise and affirming! Thanks!