Our Summer Reads, Vol. 9 – Madeline Baker

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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Noun [mass noun]

Indulgence in aimless thought or dreamy imagining; absent-mindedness. ‘a vacant daze that leads to formless wool-gathering’

For me, the last two summers have been characterised by finishing crushing sets of law exams, but this year I’m actually training at work and enjoying the rhythm of the working week. This means fitting reading around my work life: reading on the bus, at bus stops and at lunch. Reading before bed, and having a book beside me on waking.

Summer reading is therefore a more subtle shift in mood as the days are longer and more relaxed. I’ve been exploring at the weekends and my summer books travel in my rucksack to the moors, to the beaches, and back home to sunlit back steps and a coffee.

This year there’s more poetry and non-fiction than novels.  I’m reading about places and reading two monumental female writers I’ve never felt like approaching before now – Plath and Woolf... Sally Rooney is on my list, as I’ve heard so much about Normal People I’m curious to try it. A new find for me is Sarah Manguso’s book 300 Arguments/Ongoingness: the former title is a collection of aphorisms, the second is from a life-long diary-keeping exercise – both offer unique and slightly disquieting perspectives on being alive and female.

There is a word for my summer reading – borrowing the title of one of the books on my list – I’m woolgathering….

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  • Woolgathering - Patti Smith

  • The Poetics of Space - Gaston Bachelard

  • Findings - Kathleen Jamie

  • 300 Arguments/Ongoingness - Sarah Manguso

  • Virgina Woolf - Alexandra Harris

  • Collected Poems - Sylvia Plath

  • Crossing the Water - Sylvia Plath

  • Inadvertent - Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun - Emily Dickinson

  • Normal People - Sally Rooney

  • Berlin Quarterly (Eighth Issue)

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Madeline Baker is a trainee solicitor living in Exeter, in South West England. She studied English Literature as her BA before moving into law. She spends much of her time trying to come to grips with full time training for the legal profession, drinking coffee, and trying to cram music and poetry into the remaining hours in the day. You can read her writing for the Attic here.