Louisa May Alcott
In my mind, summer is spelled B-O-O-K-S. During the long, cold (I partly kid — we Southerners can hardly complain of arctic winter months) seasons that make up the school year, I long for the golden sun and those plentiful hours for reading that June, July, and August bring. In January and February especially, I have often been known to raise my weary head from the bottomless depths of my Apologia textbook and stare longingly out the window, as if hoping to catch a glimpse of the coming summer on the horizon. It may seem that I long for no schoolwork, time at the pool, or daily glasses of the heavenly nectars — cherry limeade, sweet tea, and lemonade — that can only be properly served when it is hot outside and the grass requires a daily soaking in order to maintain its former virescent shade . . . but that is not entirely honest. What I really crave are the thick books that I grudgingly have to set aside the rest of the year.
I was in the mood for a light post today. My heart and head are in that faerie-like place only summer is capable of bringing, and I can hardly pull them both down to reasonable placidity. Therefore, I have deemed today a good time to write a post on a subject as warm and dear to my heart as a cup of hot tea: a list of the books I hope to complete this summer.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
This is a big one (in more than one sense of the word). I know practically the whole story of Les Mis, and have heard — and fallen in love with — a good portion of the musical. But now it's time for me to take the plunge and read the full-fledged edition, 1200 pages and all. This should be quite the adventure, and I'm getting excited just thinking about it.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Again, one with which I am familiar, since Daddy read the Great Illustrated Classics version to us when we were very young. The story is so well-crafted, and after hearing my dear friend Näna rave about it, I have determined to experience the tale for myself in its original form.
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
This one looks like a pamphlet in comparison to the two tomes above. ;) Almost everyone in my family has read JT, and were excessively disappointed when I failed to read it in the more socially-accepted manner last summer. Apparently the practice of opening a book and beginning it at the point to which it opened, regardless of whether you've read the beginning, is frowned upon in our house. :P I will admit this habit of mine has its flaws, as I am still a bit weak on some aspects of the story. Thus, I am scheduling a full re-reading of this book over the summer, to be conducted in the traditional fashion: start to finish.
The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
Ever since I read The Hobbit for school, I have longed to read Tolkien's full series. I don't know if that is a possible feat before the summer's end, but I will endeavor to make every effort toward the cause.
North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell
I adore the movie. Even more than Pride and Prejudice. Therefore, I simply must read the book. Because books are always better than their film adaptions. It's a fact.
. . .
I'm sure it's obvious that the task of finishing all these books before mid-August is practically impossible. But as I mentioned before, I build on my to-read list over the course of the entire year. Each book displays a part of who I was at the time I scribbled it into the next blank margin. And that's why my to-read list is exceedingly lengthy . . . and will *gasp* continue to grow. My love of books knows few boundaries, but there are simply too many titles to effectively devour — it can be a bit overwhelming.
And that's why I take it one page at a time, enjoying and savoring the story for all it's worth, without worrying about all the other books I "have" to finish before a certain time. Deadlines have a sour way of spoiling a good story and turning a proficient reader into someone who rarely picks up a book unless forced. In the end, I have to turn to the words of Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, who said, "There is not time to read all books. In the greatest of books there are lessons for a lifetime, and those lessons are not in any sense narrow or parochial. On the contrary, they are specifically global and universal. It would be better to read a few books carefully (wherever they may have been written), than to read many books lightly."
And if all else fails, we musn't forget about the dependable and much-loved practice of reading not one, but several books at a time. ;)