Everyone in the book blogging world is posting about their summer reading plans. I love reading all your lists and seeing your ambitious goals!
I've been thinking a lot about my own reading plans for this summer. This is the first summer in quite a while that I've actually had a lot of time to read. I don't have any required readings for classes, so I can actually read whatever I want for once without anyone breathing down my neck.
I feel obligated to use this time to tackle some big, chunky, difficult classics. I rarely read them for school because they don't fit well on a single-semester syllabus--teachers don't like having to devote an entire semester to a single book--and I finally have time to slowly work through them. I could read War and Peace! Or Moby Dick! (With Adam's readalong going on, I was really tempted.) Or Ulysses! (Okay...barf.) I could do that readalong of Les Miserables I've been wanting to do forever!
As fun as it would be to finally be able to say I've read some tough chunksters (or, hey, even some shorter classics), the honest truth is that I don't have much enthusiasm for them this summer. After 3 1/2 years of studying literature in college, I can finally read for fun. Reading difficult classics, as wonderful as they are, would just drain the fun right out of it.
Don't get me wrong; I think it's a good idea for us all to push ourselves and read things that aren't necessarily fun. But pushing myself to read out of my comfort zone (not to mention having a lot of other people pushing me) is what I do all the time in school. I just need a break.
In addition--and this is probably more important--although I often feel how many classics I haven't read, I feel even stronger how much I lack in the contemporary department. I want to be a writer, and although classics can teach me a lot about writing, what they can't teach me is what the current, living masters are doing, and what the best writing is like today. I spend so much time on dead authors that I hardly know who's worth looking up to in my own world.
That's not to say I'm going to spend the summer reading fluffy novels and "just having fun." I probably will read a few fluffy novels, but I mostly want to spend my time looking for contemporary authors and books to love, and falling in love with reading again. I want to experience the joy of not being able to put a book down, reading late into the night because I just want to read one more chapter. As wonderful as challenging classics are, I think I'm going to put them aside for a while.
(But classics aren't completely off the table. I'm actually in the middle of a lovely re-read of Pride and Prejudice, and I have my eye on a copy of Wives and Daughters I snagged at the library book sale last week. But I think I'm still going to stick to these fun classics for a while.)
I have one more semester of school, which I'm slightly dreading, so I want to fill my last summer with fun reading before...well...my life changes completely.
So, I'm not making a list. I'm going to spend a lot of time at the library this summer, seeing where the wind blows me.