Summer Re-Reading With Deb Eleanor

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor BrownI was recently on a panel at the South Carolina Book Festival where our topic was “Great Summer Reads.”

At the outset, I mused that there is no corollary to the summer read. No one ever says, “Hey! This’ll make a great winter read!”

I think this is all due to the way we set up our educational system. Because we grew up with summers off from school, those months still give us a feeling of decadence. Of hedonism. And yes, the weather is lovely and the days are long and the sprinklers and Popsicles are cold and the gardens overflow with flowers. But our association of all those things with vacations means they are even sweeter.

For me, summer is a time to re-read some of my favorite books. I’m not a big re-reader, but I generally read these books in the summer:

Gone With the Wind

The Stand

The Lords of Discipline (often followed by The Prince of Tides)

Evening Class (sometimes followed by Tara Road)

To Kill a Mockingbird

This summer I’ve set myself an additional challenge – I want to re-read the Little House on the Prairie series.

Do you have any summer reading goals or favorite re-reads?

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46 thoughts on “Summer Re-Reading With Deb Eleanor

  1. Thanks to my Kindle, I just read anywhere, anytime, with ease. If I were at the beach I’d pop it into a large freezer bag to protect it from sand and water. I re-read books year round. Many of my older favorites are not on Kindle. Those I usually grab at the library. Like Dell Shannon’s Luis Mendoza mysteries from the 60s – and Ray Bradbury. I always read Ray Bradbury short stories and novels in the summer. If I had to bring only one book with me to a desert island it would be a Bradbury short story book.

    • I always think it’s a shame when older books aren’t in ebook form – it seems like a great way to introduce them to the masses without the cost of production or the risk of taking up shelf space. Same thing with digital music.

      I love Bradbury’s short stories! I got to teach “The Fun They Had” and “There Will Come Soft Rains” and the kids and I loved discussing them.

      Also, totally stealing your plastic bag/ereader idea.

  2. I love re-reading old favorites — it’s better than comfort food. Fewer calories, too.

    My summer reading goals? Hmm. I’m just beginning edits, so I guess my goal is to find the TIME to read. It’s hard for me to focus on reading someone else’s book when my head is in revision land. But once I turn that sucker in, I’ll make up for lost time by gorging on everything in sight.

    • I’m the same way – I am very specific about what I’m reading when I’m at certain points in the writing process. At the beginning, it’s the voice I’m aiming for. Later on, I won’t ready anything in that voice because I don’t want to pollute the process! Picky, picky!

      Good luck with the edits!

  3. I’m not a re-reader either, but I’ve been wanting to re-read this series I read as a child by Cynthia Voight. I’m in a reading slump right now, so my reading goal is just to concentrate on one book and finish it.

    • I go through reading slumps, too. Nothing seems quite right, none of the tons of books in my to be read pile appeal to me. But I think Cynthia Voigt is a great idea – reading something you loved long ago might just inspire you out of your reading slump!

  4. I reread A S Byatt’s POSSESSION just about every year. I’m also re-reading all of Fitzgerald’s work for fun/research.

    I have a delicious stack of ARCs I can’t wait to dig into, and I’m going to indulge in my curiosity over THE HUNGER GAMES while I’m at the beach.

    Have a great summer!

    • I haven’t read The Hunger Games either! Let me know what you think – I’m a little scared to read it after so much hype!

  5. Since I’m taking a children’s lit course this summer, there may be a lot of re-reading, ranging from Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women books. I’m also trying to get back to a re-read of Middlemarch, which was quite enjoyable until continuing ed interferred.

    • Oh, how fun! It’ll be interesting to do re-reading of books you haven’t read in a while to take a look and see how they’re different.

      Reading is tricky when you’re also reading for academia. Good luck!

  6. I plan to tackle my TBR pile. I also love to re-read Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. I hope to read the whole Anne series this year as well. Eleanor, you have reminded me of some other wonderful titles I have not read in a long time that I should re-read! Love Maeve Binchy and Prince of Tides was great!

    • I really need to get my TBR pile down to a manageable size. Here’s to reading vacations!

  7. I recently re-read the Little House Books and I loved them just as much as I did when I was younger. I’ve re-read THE STAND a few times already and you can’t go wrong re-reading pretty much anything by Maeve Binchy (although EVENING CLASS and TARA ROAD are two of my favorites, along with THE COPPER BEECH.)

    I’ve also recently gone back and read the first two books in Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Moon Books trilogy so that I was all caught up for the third one. (I’ve actually got my husband reading them now!)

    I’m considering re-reading the Harry Potter books again but my giant piles of to-be-read books are begging me not to. 🙂

    • I haven’t re-read The Copper Beech! I just did Evening Class, Tara Road, and Scarlet Feather, and then got distracted. I think I like her contemporary stuff better.

      Sigh for the giant to-be-read piles. Promising myself not to feel guilty about them!

    • What style do you like? I am a huge fan of YA books and read many of them. I higly recommend Holly Black, Melissa Marr, Carrie Jones, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl and Meg Cabot for a fun romp! One I just read that is a relatively new release is Wither, which has a fantastic idea behind it – Sometime in the future, after science has managed to eradicate all illnesses from humans, it is discovered that the children of these “perfect” humans don’t survive past 20 for girls and 24 for boys. The main character is a 16 year old who is kidnapped to be a rich young man’s bride. I think it is well written and I am looking forward to the sequal!

      • I’m just chiming in here – I read a lot of YA and can highly recommend The Moon Books by Susan Beth Pfeffer (mentioned in my above comment.) The basic premise is that the moon has been knocked out of alignment and is hovering close to earth, causing all sorts of destruction. (Think about what the moon controls…) What I find particularly fascinating is that the first book is told in diary form by a teenage girl while the second book is in the third person pov of a teenage boy. Both are experiencing the chaos at the same time but in different places – one in the country, one in the city. The third book, well, I don’t want to give anything away. 🙂

        Oh, and I have WITHER on my list to read, too. 🙂

      • Ladies, I pre-order POPULAZZI a couple of months ago! AS IF that one would not be at the top of my list! And Eleanor, I read WITHER in one gulp yesterday. Really good!

  8. I am going to read Jane Eyre and Ya-Ya Sisterhood this summer. But my re-reads, which I do, actually, re-read practically every summer now that I think about it, are The Little Princess, the Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland. I love getting re-lost in those worlds from my childhood.

    • Wow, I haven’t read Ya-Ya in years! Maybe I should add that to my enormous pile? 🙂

      Have you read Erin Blakemore’s The Heroine’s Bookshelf? She talks a lot about re-reading and the way stories read differently to us at different points in our lives. It’s so fun to re-read stories and remember all the times I’ve re-read it before, and how different parts of it resonate differently with me. Good stuff!

      • I have not – I’ll – *sigh* – add it to my pile. 😉 I have never read Ya-Ya – but I figured it would probably resonate with me in my “advanced years” more than it would have at 20 anyway! 😉 I am planning on getting my pile down over July – I have 3 books a week scheduled – as long as I don’t go into the ARC room at work, I may manage it! 😉

        I definitely feel like books mean something different to me each time I read them – especially the deeper ones – I find I prefer different characters as I get older, and find the ones I loved when I was younger annoying and immature – with the exception of Little Women, of course! 😉

        • Oh, ARCs are such dangerous things. I just want to tell everyone to stop writing new books until I get caught up!

          I love that you have scheduled books. I should do that. Though at this rate I will be scheduled through July….2015.

          I love it when you wink at me. 😉

  9. I’m really not a re-reader, except books I re-read as I’m reading them to Miss M. Doing that with the Harry Potter series now, and OMG sooooo loving it!

    That said, I did dig out a couple Joseph Campbell books from the garage, and they’re FOR SURE worth a re-read.

    • I don’t tend to re-read because there are just too many new, wonderful books I want to read! But I think reading with your kids is a different experience – I bet you dig out new and wonderful things when you read with her, too!

    • You’re the second person to mention Possession in this thread. Is the universe sending us all a message?

      And yes! LHOP was totally motivated by you, and then confirmed by Wendy. So fun!

  10. I’d never thought about having summer reading goals, but I’m inspired by your Little House on the Prairie one. Perhaps I’ll consider tackling the Trixie Belden series (which was one of my favorites as a kid).

    Thanks for the idea!

    Tawna

    • No problem! I was motivated by Erin Blakemore’s The Heroine’s Bookshelf, which talks about re-reading books at different points in your life and what different things you draw from it each time. It’s fun stuff!

  11. Eleanor, your TBR List has changed since TDW’S question.

    And, among other books, I’ll be reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. 🙂

    • This is just my *summer* reading list! Oh, I’ve got plenty more, trust me (and I won’t confess how behind I am!)

      Enjoy the HP books. She really does a great job creating a world, especially in the first one.

  12. The Harry Potter series is a great ‘winter’ read (maybe because it covers the school year?) I cheated and borrowed them all as audio books from my library (I drive 2.5 hrs every day to & from work), and listened to them all in a row. It was great.

    And the best ‘winter’ read of all is ‘The Shining’…while ‘The Stand’ is my favorite re-read, ‘The Shining’ is a snowed-in, read by lantern when the power goes out sort of book. If you dare. 😉

    • What a fun point – there is something about reading a book that matches the season you’re in!

      I don’t know if I’ve ever read The Shining. If I did, it was when I was a wee teen and was just discovering King. I’ll have to save it for this winter!

  13. I’m not much of a re-reader either, though I did enjoy reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD when my daughters read it in HS. I’ve just got too many new books to read, and the list goes on and on, and because I keep finding new authors, it will never end!!

    • I know…every once in a while I just want to shout at everyone to stop writing great new books until I finish the ones I already have!

      TKAM is one of those books that you can re-read and find new things in every time, though. It’s great fun!

  14. I just love that we’re both huge Maeve Binchy fans. I just pulled out Tara Road and Evening Class out of my bookshelf to add to the summer stack. xoxo

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