Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Books for Summer Reading

Top Ten Books on my Summer Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  It’s a fun an interesting way to get to know other book bloggers and what they are reading.

This week the topic is “books on my summer reading list”.  Here are ten books, some of which I am already committed to read and some I merely hope to read.  As such it is subject to change without notice.

1.  Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau.  Thoreau's literary classic, an elegantly written record of his experiment in simple living.  This is for a class at the University of Chicago's Basic Program of Liberal Education.

2.  Frankenstein or the New Prometheus by Mary Shelley.  This classic novel of supreme horror that has held readers spellbound since its publication in 1816 is often considered the modern foundation of Science Fiction.

3.  Unforgiving Years by Victor Serge.  Victor Serge’s final novel, translated into English for the first time, is at once the most ambitious, bleakest, and most lyrical of this neglected major writer’s works.

4.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.  Heinlein's gripping tale of revolution on the moon in 2076, where "Loonies" are kept poor and oppressed by an Earth-based Authority that turns huge profits at their expense. This along with Frankenstein are also planned readings for a course at the University of Chicago.

5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.  This is a reread of the novel considered by many to be the best of Dickens' works.

6.  Hymns and other Poems by Friedrich Holderlin.  This is on my Classics Club list.

7.  Eclogues and Georgics by Virgil.  This was suggested by my reading of Thoreau who himself read widely in the Greek and Roman classics.  I plan to read the David Ferry translations.

8.  Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith.  This is a classic science fiction tale from the 1970s and the only novel from the pen of Smith.

9.  A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.  Humanity's rebirth from ashes, reenacting the eternal drama of the struggle between light and darkness, life and death.

10.  Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell.  I read Mrs. Bridge last fall and enjoyed it so much that I plan to read  this companion volume.  Published a decade after Mrs. Bridge, it is about Walter Bridge, an ambitious lawyer who redoubles his efforts and time at the office whenever he senses that his family needs something, even when what they need is more of him and less of his money.

11+.  Books that did not make the cut but sit near the top of my TBR pile (the one closest to me). include:
In the First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Tree of Man by Patrick White, The Italian Journey by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, A Novel Bookstore by Lawrence Cosse. and Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman.


Amy said...

What a fantastic list. This is stuff to get your teeth into. Your Virgil and Heinlein titles intrigue me. I'm planning to read the Aeneid this summer, and it will be my first experience with Virgil. I'd never even heard of any other of his works. And Heinlein keeps coming to my attention lately--I take it as a sign that I should read something of his. :)

James said...

Thanks for your comment. I envy your opportunity to experience The Aeneid for the first time. It is alternatively exciting and illuminating with one of the greatest scenes of passion in literature as Dido demonstrates her love for Aeneas.
The Eclogues and Georgics are both shorter pastoral poems that provide a different view of Roman life.

Amy said...

Oh, yes, the Eclogues and Georgics ring a bell. I must have heard of them at some point. Good, I can look them up.

Angela said...

What a fantastic list! I don't think I have ever finished Walden. I need to rectify that. Thanks for the reminder.

James said...

Thanks for your comment, Angela. I just finished the first and longest section of Walden and expect to finish the remainder next week. I'm not ready to give up my central air but I like much of what he has to say and my review is already percolating in my grey matter.