Our Summer Reads, Vol. 2 – Mary Hitchman
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.
I have the entire summer ahead of me. No, really.
After a few circumstantial twists and turns I am almost utterly free from obligations; I feel like I did when I’d finished school, with long weeks stretching ahead of me until September.
Last year, I spent June to August writing my master’s thesis. Dragging my protesting body from one punishingly hot library to another, looking longingly out of the windows at people with ice cream, people walking dogs, people holding hands, I promised myself that this year I would do everything I’d missed out on.
My to-be-read list below is organised by author rather than arranged by an intended order of reading — any attempt to institute a timeline would be futile — and I have elected to leave out books I am already in the process of reading. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes is beside me as I type, and I have promised myself I will return to Saltwater by Jessica Andrews after (oh, the shame) setting it aside at p.44 a few weeks ago.
Out of respect for the long-suffering Mary of summer 2018, I will be reading continuously but gently. I have set neither goals nor parameters within which to read. This list contains no overarching theme, no internal logic, and features nothing I feel I should read; I have included only books I want to read. Incidentally, I am always in search of a book that will make me feel like Madeline Miller’s Circe did. I live in hope.
Celestial Bodies, Jokha Alharthi
Kindred, Octavia Butler
If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, Anne Carson
A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
Everything Under, Daisy Johnson
Strange Weather in Tokyo, Hiromi Kawakami
Bluets, Maggie Nelson
Devotions, Mary Oliver
Delight, J. B. Priestley
The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson
Mary Hitchman is a writer living and working in Oxford. She is fond of direct prose, medieval hagiography, and irony.