Here’s a testament to my true nerdiness: I haven’t had a summer reading list since something like the 7th grade, and now that I am planning one for Summer 2014 courtesy of Books on the Nightstand’s Beach Blanket Book Bingo, I am entirely too excited.
See? Nerdiness Extraordinaire here. Only us die hard bookworms get excited about a summer reading list.
For those who may not be familiar with it, Books on the Nightstand is this amazing podcast I discovered through a friend – after I shared my newfound interest in podcasts in general – that focuses on, you got it, the world of books. The two authors, Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman, are publishers who bring their love of reading to the podcast-o-sphere once a week. They provide book recommendations, talk about reading as a hobby, publishing as an industry, and encourage their listeners to participate in reading challenges. Hence Beach Blanket Book Bingo.
How many squares can you fill over the course of summer 2014? I’m on a mission to fill most of them.
And my friend – the same one who recommended BOTNS to me in the first place – and I are diving into this head first, relishing the challenge of finding books that meet the Bingo’s stipulations. A book with a child on the cover? Still working on that one. By a small press? Yep, working on that one too. I have, however, set aside the top shelf in my bedroom to stack the books I am planning to read for this challenge. And, yes, I am excited to tackle them. I couldn’t help but relish the excitement of finding books that met these “requirements.”
And I am off and running, currently 90 pages in to Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich. I wanted to re-read this series over the summer because Book 7 just came out a couple of weeks ago. So I admit: I did fudge the Bingo card a bit. I already had the first 6 books in this wildly entertaining series about the pseudo savant, reluctant soldier, dashing rogue Ethan Gage and his many adventures chasing legendary artifacts across Napoleonic Europe and Jeffersonian America on my TBR list, so I just plugged those guys in the card where they fit. Am I glad The Rosetta Key, Gage Adventure # 2, had a red cover!
But some of these are true to the card’s stipulations. The Bounty by Caroline Alexander has been sitting on my shelf for at least 5 years now, if not longer, and I am finally taking this opportunity to crack it open and read more than just the dust jacket. I started Beyond the Blue Horizons by Brian Fagan about a year ago and put it down when another book fell into my lap. I have been intending to pick it back up and finish it … now’s my chance. My dad passed along The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester some time ago, and raved about it, but have I read it yet? Nope! And I swear I picked up Philip Fradkin’s The Great Earthquake and Firestorm of 1906 – about the devastating earthquake in San Francisco – because the cover caught my eye!
I also look forward to adding more books to this Bingo card. The classic that I should have read? Oh boy, that’s probably going to end up being something like Grapes of Wrath or Wuthering Heights. I will tell you what I won’t read in that category: Dickens or Hemingway. Not to start a war here, and those two may have been genius wordsmiths, but man are their books boring. I don’t know what death would befall me first if I try to read one of their tomes: old age or boredom.
The book everyone except me has read? I bet I go with a Jane Austen there. Pride and Prejudice maybe? I feel like Jane Austen is the perfect “it” author right now, and a huge resurgence in her works has taken the literary world by storm, which may contribute to my feeling that everyone else has read her … and I haven’t.
I’m not a poetry fan, but it might be good for me to at least try it. I used to own a copy of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot (upon which, the hugely successful Cats musical is based), so I’m thinking I can track one of those down. I did enjoy Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry in school, so maybe I’ll be really wild and daring and pick up one of his collections.
(Cue dramatic music)
I don’t yet know about some of these others. But the summer has only just begun, and there is still time.
Which means, time to go read!