The Sunday Salon: My Great Summer Re-Reading Project

Ever since I cleaned and rearranged my bookshelves last week, I’ve found myself drawn to them more and more often. Each time I peruse all those volumes lined up so neatly, I see another book I’d forgotten all about.

It seems reasonable that if I’d forgotten I owned them, I’ve probably forgotten a lot more about them.

Like the plot.

And the characters.

And the message.

So I’m embarking on a Great Summer Re-Reading Project. In the spirit of those library reading programs I enjoyed so much during my childhood vacations,  I’m setting myself a goal of re-reading three books from my shelves every month this summer. I’ll even keep a little list, just like I did when I was small. But this time, instead of printing it with a stubby pencil on the mimeographed sheet from the library, I’ll enter them on the designated page here at the Blog.

My, how times have changed.

I’m thinking my impressions  of these books will be changed, too. In some cases, it will have been more than three decades since the original reading. So I might like the book more – or less. I might empathize with the same characters, but for different reasons. A character I once admired, I might now disdain. Part of the challenge in re-reading will be to try and remember what was going on my life the first time ‘round, and how that might have effected my interpretation of the book.

Don’t worry, I’ll share all my thoughts with you, my bookish friends. Look for posts on Thursdays beginning June 14.

I’ve chosen these three books for my June selections:

Crossing to Safety, by Wallage Stegner: Published in 1987, this is a “grand, beautifully written novel about a long, not-always-easy friendship between two couples.”

Excellent Women, by Barbara Pym: Published in 1952, this novel of manners features Mildred Lathbury, a clergyman’s daughter, and mild-mannered spinster in 1950s England. Mildred is one of those “excellent women,” the smart, supportive, repressed women who men take for granted. As Mildred gets embroiled in the lives of her new neighbors—anthropologist Helena Napier and her handsome, dashing husband, Rocky, and Julian Malory, the vicar next door—the novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires.

Her Mother’s Daughter, by Marilyn French: Published in 1987, this novel by the author of The Women’s Room is an “enthralling narrative about the lives of four generations of women,” especially the “primal, inescapable bond between mothers and daughters.”

And if you’d like to embark on a Great Summer Re-Reading Project of your own, please let me know, won’t you? I’d love to find out what you’re re-reading this summer.

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21 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: My Great Summer Re-Reading Project

  1. That’s the second time in as many days that someone has mentioned ‘Excellent Women’ and made me aware of just how little of Pym’s work I’ve read. Time for a visit to the bookstore I think! (Do I really need an excuse?)

    • That’s happened to me before too – I’ll see some obscure book I haven’t heard of before mentioned in two or three places at once.

      I love Barbara Pym’s writing. It’s gentle and funny and oh-so true to life 🙂

  2. This. Sounds. Awesome. I reread all the time so I never have to do a rereading project, but it’s always fun to come back to a book I haven’t reread in a while and find it just as lovable as it ever was.

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only re-reader out there! I was beginning to despair thinking of all those poor books people leave sitting alone on the shelves forever!

  3. I keep see Crossing to Safety on so many lists, but have never read it. I can’t take on a re-reading project this summer, but maybe I will finally read Crossing to Safety.

  4. I love this idea. However, I’m too captivated by the books on my “to-be-read” list that I don’t think I’ll have time to re-read anything anytime soon. Too many new books to devour! 🙂

  5. I may have to join you on this! Re-reading three books a month doesn’t sound that hard. 🙂 I have a few books that I’ve been wanting to re-read like East of Eden by John Steinbeck and Beloved by Toni Morrison.

  6. Just read your blog and it got me thinking. I have shelves (and boxes) of books I have read and reread. Generally speaking, the only books I tend to keep are the ones I know I will be rereading. 🙂

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