Monday, August 20, 2012

Scholarly Summer: A Reading List

One of the things I do every summer is read a lot of books. Since this was possibly my last free summer, I decided to keep a list of all the books I read during these past 14 weeks. But now that the first day of school's arrived, the list must be considered finished.  
Part of the reason I kept this list is because I love reading about famous people's favorite books and their reading lists. I was recently fascinated by this list of Steven Soderbergh's pop-culture consumption ( The man read multiple books a week while directing a major motion picture! There are a plethora of news articles and blogs that record celebrity pop-culture consumption. And I read all of them.

Back in Harry Potter's heyday, Daniel Radcliffe used to occasionally update his website with the books and movies he'd consumed lately. Seeing as he was Daniel Radcliffe, he only listed about 2 or 3 books at a time. Since I'm not world-famous and have a bit more free time, I managed to get through 17 books this summer. Not bad. Here's the list in the order that I read them:
A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others Who Let Freedom Swing by Michael Farquhar
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
A collection of 3 short stories by Truman Capote: House of FlowersA Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life by Donald Miller
Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature’s Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes by Bill Peschel 
Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
Atonement by Ian McEwan
A Question of Attraction by David Nicholls
One Day by David Nicholls
Calico Joe by John Grisham
A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Summer at Tiffany by Majorie Hart

And though I didn't read every single page, I still must include the Kaplan GRE 2013 Premier in my list because I spent a significant amount of time this summer pouring over it.
Before this summer, I had never read any Tokien. Nor Capote. Nor any of Alcott's work for adults. My goal this summer was to read as much important literature that I could. 
It wasn't all serious though. I indulged my love of trivia by reading the books of Peschel and Farquhar and my love of travel with Elizabeth Bard. I learned more about the art of writing with Miller. The Grisham and Hart books? Pure fun--I read both of those books in a DAY (two separate days mind you, but less than 24 hours for each one).
My reading of Atonement is a bit complicated. I have this quirk where I refuse to watch a movie without reading its book first. Well, I wanted to watch Atonement because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. (I may be a tad obsessed with BC.) But my rule stuck. So I read Atonement, and at the time of this writing, I STILL have not actually seen the movie. (Fun Fact: BC is also in Starter for Ten, which is the film version of A Question of Attraction, but I didn't know that when I read the book. And I watched that film shortly after finishing the book and it was great!) 
Also through my reading this summer, I found what kind of book I want to write---a interesting, unique, chockfull-of literary references book like Nicholls has done (twice over). Nicholls' writing made me feel that my knowledge of important books was severely lacking. When I finished A Question of Attraction, I went "Man, I hope I can write a book that good one day." And then I drove to the library and picked up One Day the next day. His writing is deceptively simple--intense emotions in few words. If I ever become famous for my prose and they ask who or what inspired me, I'm going to list Rowling, Fitzgerald, and Nicholls.

As for my last book of the summer, I began East of Eden by John Steinbeck while on vacation. I was reading it for fun, which I realize makes me ridiculous. But I didn't finish it, and who knows when I'll get those last 200 pages read. Maybe Thanksgiving?
And now that school begins again, I'm still reading. My first book of the school year will be Light in August by William Faulkner for one of my English classes, the first of five Faulkner novels I'll be reading this semester.
I really like keeping a list of the books that I read. Once I get out of school and have more free time (and more choice over what I read), I may make this a permanent habit---a never-ending list of books. 

No comments:

Post a Comment