The Best Kind of Childhood is One Surrounded By Books: Summer 2014 Reading List

03 June 2014

Summer's upon us, friends, and that means the resurrection of pleasure reading. Somehow I managed to go the whole month of May without a single line (that was an ironic somehow; I know exactly how it came about). All my words were bled and spent on that last heavy push of the school-year before we were released for three joyous months of freedom, but now the ideas are coming back in twos and threes like songbirds in spring. And reading rich, living stories is the best method for prodding inspiration along and keeping writer's block at bay.

I mentioned in a letter to Jenny last week that summer can be either full of reading or completely devoid of it. During the long winter months, I dream of sitting poolside with a good book, but to be honest, that doesn't always work out. In the past I've shared ambitious reading lists; this summer I've been yoinked down from cloud nine and know my own limits. Summer can be used to accomplish all that research you pushed off during the school-year (yes, Redcoats and Rebels, I'm looking at you), but it's also a good time to indulge your fancies, whether they lean more towards Milne or Heyer. Good, solid tomes mixed with some light pleasure reading. These are the titles I've compiled for my summer; though I will not read them all, this is the list from which I'll choose.

summer 2014 reading list

Starflower by A. E. Stengl (already working on this one)

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (British Lit summer reading, but I'm excited about diving in!)

The Ballad of the White Horse by G. K. Chesterton

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (per Abigail's wholehearted recommendation)

Five Glass Slippers (edited by A. E. Stengl)

At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald

Mystery and Manners and A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Bath Tangle, Friday's Child, or something else by the inimitable Georgette Heyer

American Austen (a collection of essays by Agnes Repplier)

Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and several others by C. S. Lewis to be chosen when the time arrives

The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (halfway through; I want to finish it)

... And a whole stack of research books for Rifles, which will either be read through, combed through, or picked through by summer's end.

what are you reading this summer?

6 epistles:

  1. I'm hoping to read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park. Also The Killer Angels and a certain book I've been eyeing at the library about the war of the roses. I love the mind of the maker! It was just wonderful and i really really want to read it again.

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  2. So funny you should post this today because I was *just* making up my summer reading list yesterday and thinking I should post it...great minds think alike? :)

    Oh, you're reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!!! That is one of my top three favorite books of all time! I can't describe how much I love it. You must email me your thoughts (or post a review here) when you are finished!

    Here's to many wonderful summer afternoons by the pool with a good book!

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  3. I posted my list last week. I didn't include Five Glass Slippers, but I definitely intend to read that too!

    At the Back of the North Wind is one I've considered trying someday...and I've been trying to make up my mind whether to read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn for years now. (I did the same thing with To Kill A Mockingbird and My Antonia, too, so...) You'll have to tell me how it is. Is The Ballad of the White Horse poetry? The only Chesterton I've read so far is Father Brown, but I'd like to dabble a bit further in his works.

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  4. You're kind of reminding me of the importance of focusing on school-work, Elizabeth dear :). Unlike you I am in the middle of the school-year, but I have happily had the pleasure of doing a deal of reading (and little else, besides chores and Pacework). . . writing has been totally on back-burner however. I am excited about your reading list, because they're both because I plan on reading soon, and also a very few titles that I have already read and totally delighted in.

    Starflower - have you read this one before or is this the first time? This is one of my favourite "Goldstone novels" alongside "Moonblood" and "Dragonwitch". David Copperfield ah, yes, that is one book I am really eager to read soon; I picked up a second hand copy at a thrift store last year for some 80 cents and I have been eyeing that book on my bookshelf for a while now =). But I will probably be reading "Little Dorrit" first. Tell me how you enjoy that one! *guilty blush* I have been trying to find the perfect moment to read The Ballad of the White Horse, and have been dallying about needlessly with it for goodness knows no good reason (ptff, it is such a lovely slender thing!). But I will read it, I really must, and if you're reading it alongside as well, all the better! I mean to start reading Beowulf this winter, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for how that will be like ;). Lately, I have done a bit more readings with Jane Austen - it would be interesting to read your review of Mansfield Park when you get around reading it. Flannery O'Conner - I have been really curious to read her writings, but having received a word of caution from both Jenny and Anna, I am not rushing into her works cold turkey! I am currently reading "Mere Christianity". 'Tis really good!

    Oh, my reading list for winter is a little undecided, as I will be doing a deal of travelling later in the season, but I already know I want to read "Little Dorrit" by Charles Dickens, "The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Orczy, "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald, "To Kill A Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee and probably a few devotional/apologetics as well. We'll see how things pan out ^_^.

    All the best with your summer readings, writing and whatever sunny endeavors you undertake :)

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  5. Great list!!! I read The Five Glass Sippers, an ARC copy, and it is amazing. I think you will like it.

    I have a HUGE list for summer. I don't think I will be able to get to the bottom of it, but I want to make a lovely dent in it.

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  6. I like your reading list. Mansfield Park is probably one of my top two favorite Jane Austen books. I have a highly optimistic reading goal to accomplish over the summer. I am working hard at it. I love Starflower! It is a wonderful book. There are only two books in that series that I have not read the The second book and Shadow Hand I am having trouble getting my hands on a copy being that I am a poor college student. I hope to read review about the other books on your list as they sound interesting from the titles.

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