For several years, pre-Pandemic, I have participated in summer reading challenges hosted by the Jones Library. Usually you are supposed to read, at least, three books, and write a review of one. Once you turn that information in, you get a gift card to a local retail or dining institution.
In the past, the library also had a bingo game connected to the theme for the year’s summer reading challenge. Playing that meant you read three more books, for a total of six, and had a better chance of winning a more elaborate prize.
Obviously, last year, the library didn’t do anything for summer reading or anything else. This year, they are doing an Adult Summer Reading Program; the theme is Tails & Tales. It started yesterday and continues until August 27th.
I went today and picked up the material for the Jones Library program and a few of the books they suggest are entrancing. One, a nonfiction book, The Trainable Cat A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis is particularly appealing because, eventually, we are going to get a new cat to replace Bella, our cat who we had for eighteen years. Early this summer we had to put her down. If possible, I would like to get a short haired cat who we keep indoors and we don’t have to declaw. Maybe the book would help us have a cat who doesn’t starch.
My plan for my own summer reading is to finish five books; six if I add the cat book. The books are Maggie Doherty, The Equivalents which I want to read because it is about the early years of the Bunting Institute , a program of continuing education for women at Radcliffe College. The chapter of my book that I am currently working deals with similar programs developed at various academic institutions in the post World War Two period.
For my Jane Austen book club meeting in August I am reading Zadie Smith’s, White Teeth. Also Austen themed, I will be reading, The Heiress by Mollie Greeley. I read her book, The Clergyman’s Wife which is one of my favorite Jane Austen retellings. I wrote a review of it which you can read here.
One of the people in my year long manuscript class suggested I read Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidya Hartman. She thinks it will be a good model for how to structure my book.
The final book I plan on completing before August 27th is Octavia Butler’s, Parable of the Talents. I just finished reading her Parable of the Sower and it was a great book; very dark but very prescient. Written in the 1990s, the novel starts in 2022, a year from now. It tackles issues of race, climate change, loss of our democracy and concepts of God and organized religion. These are all issues we are currently grappling with. I highly recommend it.
To complete all of these books by the end of August, I will have to read about 36 or 37 pages a day. I think that is very doable. If I add in the cat book, it will raise my daily reading page count to about 43 pages a day which I still fell is doable. I will keep you posted about my progress.
I will not have a blog post next week. I will resume my regular schedule on July 16th. Have a nice two weeks.