Ah, August. I love this time of year: the warmth, the flowers, and the light, but I can't help but look forward to autumn now. There are signs already, one or two fallen leaves, a few acorns, and the harvest... But we're still in summer, and I won't wish that away.
July was an excellent month for reading: I finished my Classics Club list! And I have finished making my new one! Compiling the new one has taken nearly two weeks: I started reading from it on the day I'm compiled it (Jane Eyre was my first) and I've been adding, taking away, adding some more, and it's getting dangerously large. So here it is: 275 books to be read in 5 years. So far I've read and blogged about three (Jane Eyre, The Master and Margarita, and Moments of Being). I want to write about as many of these titles as possible: this is what I did wrong on the last list, I got lazy about writing reviews and there were so many I would have enjoyed writing about. But not this time, I won't do make the same mistake twice.
What's been interesting is comparing my new list with the old one. It's a great deal longer for a start (90 books longer), and there's much more pre-18th Century. As with both lists, the 19th Century section is the longest, but this time around the 20th Century list is much much shorter (not deliberately done). I only read one biography (I think) for the first list, and now there are 21 biographies and autobiographies. There was little non-fiction, now there are 28 titles. And there were only two re-reads on the first list, now there are many more (I keep miscounting so I'll just say "many more"!). Zola and Woof dominate the list, and there's more Dickens (including non-fiction), and now in this Trollope and Steinbeck feature quite heavily whereas they didn't before. And more poetry - a lot more poetry! My tastes, it seems, have changed, and my awareness has grown (as one would hope with all this reading).
Because I've been busy compiling this list, I have quite a surge in enthusiasm for this month! There's few listed that I'm not excited about (there are, naturally, a few duty reads - Darwin being the most notable, that is for duty's sake alone, and there's a few reads that intimidate me - Marx's Das Kapital is incredibly ambitious of me!). I've started reading Jean Santeuil by Marcel Proust, which I intend on finishing in the next few weeks. It was bought out of curiosity, but I never expected that I would love it as much as I do. It's everything I had hoped for from In Search of Lost Time. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it and I can't wait to write about it!
I also want to do a little catching up this month: I abandoned two readalongs to focus on the Classic Club list, firstly my re-read of Moby-Dick and secondly The Decameron. The Moby-Dick readalong is over, but I do still want to read it, so in the next few weeks I'll restart it. And there's plenty of time to catch up with The Decameron (I should be half way through by now, but I'm not even a quarter of the way through, so there's a lot to catch up on!). I also need to read Framley Parsonage, which I had planned on reading last month (I got sidetracked by Jean Santeuil).
August is also the month for Jane Austen - I want to read Virginia Woolf's essay on Jane Austen from The Common Reader, as well as re-reading Sense and Sensibility. If there's time for one more, I dare say I'll go for Mansfield Park.
And finally, I have the remnants of the '20 Books in Summer' Challenge. Left on the pile, aside from Moby-Dick, Sense and Sensibility, Jean Santeuil, and Framley Parsonage are:
- House of the Dead by Dostoyevsky
- Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot
- The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
- The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope.
I'm not planning on reading all of these in August: I do have until the start of autumn (21st September), but I shall see how it goes! I am keen on getting to Sybil by Disraeli, which may mean a little shifting around. But, as I say, if there's one thing I want to do this month it's to catch up with The Decameron.
So, there's my August all planned out! I do like these plans, and I do at least intend to stick to them!
Happy August, everyone :)