Summer Reading Plans

I have always failed miserably at initiatives such as the Twenty Books of Summer, but this year I’m going to try something different. I really enjoyed focusing on French history and on the Paris Commune in May, so I think I will attempt more of this country focus. A different country every month (while still allowing some breathing room with other reads in-between). I am tentatively selecting some books for each country, but will allow myself the freedom to suddenly swerve in a different direction (although still of the same country).

Never mind US and Russia, let’s jump straight to the most picturesque city in one of my favourite countries.

Honestly, it’s not Trump’s visit this month that inspired me, but I suddenly realised that I so seldom read any American authors (other than perhaps crime fiction). So I will make a more concerted effort to look at some of them in June: I have my eye on Ron Rash, David Vann, Sam Shepard, Laura Kasischke and Meg Wolitzer.

After so much Americana, I have no doubt I will be tempted to swing the other way and get a sudden craving for all things Russian, so July will be my month of Russian authors. Two Olgas, a Yuri and the diaries and letters of Bulgakov are on my list. I also really want to catch up with the TV series Chernobyl, as I still remember the events of that year (we were pretty close to the Ukraine and panicked at the time).

August is Women in Translation Month and I have already decided I want to dedicate it to Brazilian women this year. Clarice Lispector (a re-read of Agua Viva and a more detailed read of her complete short stories), Patricia Melo’s Lost World and Socorro Acioli’s The Head of the Saint. By the by, I might also dip that month into some Brazilian male writers, such as Chico Buarque and Milton Hatoum, or some of my new acquisitions in May.

If this initiative goes well, I might keep it up beyond the summer and venture further afield, to countries I have hitherto left unexplored. Of course, I still have a few countries to contend with on my #EU27Project…

22 thoughts on “Summer Reading Plans”

  1. What an interesting idea for a summer reading plan, Marina Sofia. You’ll get an interesting and varied perspective, and taking a ‘country by country’ approach allows you to organise your reading focus. Very clever

    1. Since my shelves are organised by countries, it seems like an easy way of tidying up, i.e. getting rid of some books once I’ve read them. But we’ll see how that goes…

    1. I like him, or at least some of the ones I’ve read, but I need to take him in small doses, because he is rather bleak. I do like noir though, but he is particularly violent and dark. The Road was my favourite, but I also liked No Country for Old Men.

    1. You have persuaded me already. I had one of his books – Plainsong – already on my shelf and I’ve never read him (but hear good things about him from a lot of people whose opinion I respect).

  2. What a good idea! I’m so tempted to set myself a summer reading plan, but I daren’t – I know it will all go horribly wrong. I *will* try to do WIT and All Virago/All August books though…

  3. I love joining in – and never quite completing – most of these longer challenges like 20 books etc. When you get to August, I remember really enjoying The Head of the Saint (I reviewed it for Shiny).

  4. Oo, thanks for the reminder of Women in Translation month. I never notice until too late, and this year I can plan ahead!

  5. What a fabulous idea. I love the sense of a country and its culture you get from reading fiction by indigenous/local authors but giving focused attention to one country at a time will really provide you with a broad spectrum of attitudes .

    1. As an anthropologist, you can imagine that I love finding out more about national cultures through literatures (and sometimes even through books set in those countries by other authors). So yes, it seems like a very obvious choice for me. I suppose I didn’t do it previously because I was afraid of getting bored, but just one month is not long enough to get bored.

  6. With the exception of Clarice Lispector, your Brazilian writers are completely new to me. I look forward to hearing more about them in August!

  7. Marina, you write so beautifully… Wow reading by country sounds great… I am a mood reader, I want murder and gore in my books as I am so angry, so any country will do as long as there is a mystery

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