Again with Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S. starting traditionally on Friday evening, it also is unofficially the start of summer. You've probably been asked this in other meme groups in which you participate, but do your reading habits change over the summer? Do you choose lighter fare? What do you enjoy to take to the beach, for example? What is the ultimate summer book?
My reading habits do change for the summer. Some of you might remember that I did something special with my reading last year. I challenged myself to read J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I really enjoyed the challenge, and decided that I would make that the structure for this summer's reading as well. This year, I'll be focusing on classic Southern literature.
As a born and bred Southern girl, I've always loved stories that reflect my heritage. I have picked five books for this year's challenge, all of them from the height of the Southern Literary Renaissance. Their were only two real requirements that the books had to meet. First, they must be written by someone FROM the South (no Yankees allowed). Secondly, they must be considered a classic. Here are the five books that I have selected:
- Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor. This is the second collection of O'Connor's short stories published not long after her death. I am looking forward to seeing how it compares to A Good Man is Hard to Find.
- All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. The Pulitzer-prize winning novel by author and poet Warren tells the story of the political rise and Fall of Willie Stark. A portrait, not just of Southern politics, but also of American politics in general.
- The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. This novel won the National Book Award in 1962 and is on Time magazine's TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list. It is regarded as one of Southern lit's most popular novels.
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The epitome of Southern lit, this novel is also a Pulitzer-prize winner (1937) and is on Time magazine's TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list. This is my grandmother's favorite book, and was also a favorite with my mom. We'll see if the tradition continues.
- Bonus: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. This is a bonus book because I'm not sure if I'll end up with enough time to read. Also, I'm not sure if I'm smart enough to read Faulkner. But as it is ranked among the best in 20th century lit, I figure that it deserves a shot.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. You can't go wrong with an Austen novel, and P&P is her best work IMO. Witty, sparkling, and romantic, it's great for anytime of the year.
- When Knighthood was in Flower by Charles Major. Here is a easygoing romantic tale for the long summer days. A breezy plot, great characters and a happy ending. Perfect!
- The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. Escape to Sherwood Forest with this fun book. It's funny, adventurous, and engaging.
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Middle-earth is calling, so pack up and head out for the ultimate summer vacation. Like all vacations, it has its frustrating moments, but it will leave you with wonderful memories. Watch out for orcs!
Picture by Lindas' Many Muses