Our Summer Reads, Vol. 11 – Vesna Curlic

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.

Vesna Curlic Summer Reads 2019 The Attic on Eighth.JPG

This summer is shaping up to be a busy one. With my thesis due at the end of June, and my defense at the end of July, I anticipate a summer spent largely with my nose to the grindstone and little energy left for reading for pleasure. In an attempt to not make reading another thing on the to-do list, I’ve kept my summer reading list short. This will allow me the flexibility to read without a sense of obligation.

Reading has been put on hold for the last few months, and I haven’t finished a single book for pleasure since Max Porter’s Lanny at the end of April. I’d quite like to finish the two books I started in the spring before I move on to my summer list – Possession by A.S. Byatt and Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter. I was especially enjoying the latter, but the ethereal prose was too much for my overtaxed brain and I found that reading it in small, ten-minute snippets was lowering my enjoyment of it. It is a book that deserves to be binge-read, which it won’t get until the summer is fully in swing.

Ever since childhood, summers are marked by the luxurious process of binge reading. For me, it is impossible to recreate the peace associated with long, warm afternoons spent reading at any other time of the year. This kind of reading is fundamentally different than the reading I do for ten minutes before bed or the reading done on public transportation – it is sustained, free from a sense of obligation, and fundamentally luxurious. This is the kind of reading I am coveting this summer, despite a busy schedule. 

The powers that be are calling for a humid, rainy summer here, and I’m embracing the gloom. This kind of summer gloom calls for dark, heady, plot-forward books. I am courting suffocating, atmospheric mysteries, especially if they are set near bodies of water.  In my experience, these sorts of mysteries compel me to pick up a book and keep reading until its done or until my eyes cannot stay open for a moment longer – whichever comes first. These are the reads I hope will give me that feeling this summer:

-      Costalegre by Courtney Maum 

-      Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

-      The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch 

-      The Laying-Down Room by Anna Jaquiery

-      The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing

-      The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters 

-      Swansong by Kerry Andrew

Vesna Curlic is a graduate student in History, examining domesticity in the Victorian psychiatric asylum. Her interests include mystery novels, dinner parties, and everyday luxury.