The Habit of Summer Reading: 12 weeks, 13 books

Twelve weeks lie between today and September 21st. I am going to read an average of a book per week between now and then. There are thirteen books planned because I have started a few already.

When I was in high school, we had a summer reading list each year. On the first day of class in September, our English and social studies teachers gave essay tests on the material. Manchild in the Promised Land, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Good Earth, Rebecca, and A Separate Peace kept us in the habit of reading, no matter how many other summer commitments we had. In "The Nature and Aim of Fiction", Flannery O'Connor writes that "[t]he scientist has the habit of science; the artist, the habit of art." So it must be, too, with the reader.

But my reading is sloppy these days. I read various books all at once, never quite finishing any of them. I see the same pattern reflected in other areas of my life. Time to go back to high school.

Below is my summer reading list as it stands now. I thought that if I wrote it down, I'd have to follow through.

At the very least, this list will fill me with an irresistible urge to read all the books I have that are not on this list. Either way, I complete some books.

Many thanks to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, AbeBooks, and to the friends and family who have given me books or gift cards over the past six months or so. I'm finally going to catch up on my reading!

(Names link to writers' blogs or faculty pages where available. Titles link to synopses at Powell's dot com.)

Batuman, Elif, The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who read Them (in progress)

Danticat, Edwidge, Krik? Krak!

Diski, Jenny, The Sixties: Big Ideas/Small Books (in progress)

Fox, Paula, Desperate Characters

Karkazis, Katrina, Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience

Longmore, Paul K., Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability

Marías, Javier, Corazón Tan Blanco/A Heart So White (translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa) (in progress)

Martin, Emily, Bipolar Expeditions (in progress)

Mockett, Marie Mutsuki, Picking Bones From Ash

Packer, ZZ, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Stott, Rebecca, Ghostwalk (in progress). I'm looking forward to The Coral Thief after this one!

Wailoo, Keith and Pemberton, Stephen, The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine : Ethnicity and Innovation in Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sickle Cell Disease

Feel free to share what you are reading and/or planning to read in comments.

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