Our Summer Reads, Vol. 7 – M. A. McCuen

Summer is finally here, and with it, the best time of year to curl up with a book, free – at least in our heads – of all obligations to read anything out of obligation. Long-anticipated leisure reads, lakeside picnics, and much-needed sunshine. This June, the Attic on Eighth writers share what it is that they’re looking forward to reading this summer season.

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There are so many wonderful things about being a high school teacher, but obviously the best part is the summers off. I spent my last two summers taking grad school classes full-time. So, newly dubbed with my M.Ed, this is the first time I’m finally able to avail myself of all the reading time that comes with summer vacation. The first half of the summer, I’ll be relishing all the time I can get with my family in Michigan, who I have only seen in brief, week-long spurts the past three years. I’ve so far been happily balancing reading time between rainy afternoons at unique Detroit coffee shops and longs days at the lake in Northern Michigan. I’m also availing of the opportunity to use my summer to work and travel abroad. I’ll be spending the second half of my summer in London, which I couldn’t be happier about. Because of this, my summer reading list is taking on a decidedly British mood.  

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I just finished my first anticipatory read of the summer, Again, But Better by Christine Riccio, a fun and relatable London study abroad YA that I absolutely devoured. I’m hoping to read other England-inspired books, like non-fiction memoir Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson and fictional portrayals of contemporary London like Ordinary People by Diana Evans. Especially during my flights, I’m hoping to read some fun UK-set rom-com novels like, The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I’m already dipping my toes into some classics that I’ve yet to read like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (okay, full disclosure – I thought I read Anne of Green Gables as a kid, but I recently learned that my beloved childhood edition was, in fact, abridged – so I’m reading the full thing now). I’m also anticipating doing some book shopping in London, so I’m including some Persephone books I’m hoping to purchase, like The Shuttle by Frances Hodges Burnett and Greenery Street by Denis McKail, as well as some UK releases that aren’t out in the states, like YA debut The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie and historical debut Blackberry and Wildrose by Sonia Velton, which is set in Old Spitalfields market.

My Summer Reading List:

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  • Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt

  • Ordinary People by Diana Evans

  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

  • The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.

  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

  • Home Fires by Kamila Shamsie

  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keene

  • The Shuttle by Frances Hodges Burnett

  • High Wages by Dorthey Whipple

  • Greenery Street by Denis McKail

  • The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

  • Blackberry and Wildrose by Sonia Velton 

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M. A. McCuen is a secondary English literature teacher and grad student in Omaha, Nebraska. Originally from Michigan, she graduated with a BA in English and French from University of Notre Dame in 2016 where she spent a semester studying at the University of Paris Diderot and interning in Ireland. After graduation, she spent a year teaching abroad on Wexford, Ireland, before beginning her M.Ed at Creighton University.