Just about time for the summer reading list

Believe it or not, we are supposed to be easing into summer. With snow hovering around on the forecast and the thought of a 62 degree day – the average high for this time of year – seeming more like a dream than an actual possibility, it is kind of hard to get into a summertime frame of mind. But (cue the Willy Wonka style temper tantrum) I want it now!

So while unpacking the flip flops and shorts may be a few weeks away, I have decided to start on one of my favorite summer tradition; the summer reading list.

My personal summer reading list started while I was in high school. I did not get along well with my junior year English teacher. We read at an agonizingly slow pace, completing maybe six books the entire year, and her selections were less than challenging for any competent teenager. I had an inkling that I would end up studying literature in college and didn’t want to be too far behind, so I started a reading list.

Let me tell you, I battled through some classics. Taking my first leap into the world of Russian novels, I started “Anna Karenina.” Uff Da. That was a lot of names to get straight. But I finished it, and a whole lot more.

Even in college, where the class pace picked up to at least one book every two weeks per class, I made sure to save some time for reading for entertainment. But it was in summer that I really got to get into the books I wanted to read.

Even though it’s been a few years since I graduated and I now have plenty of time to read whatever I want year-round, I still look forward to my summer reading list. This year, I have decided to take a look back at some tomes I read long ago.

I started with “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It had been at least 10 years since I have picked up Harper Lee’s classic and besides remembering that I liked it as a middle school student I didn’t recall much of the plot.

Man, is it good.

My next reading list book is George Orwell’s “1984.” The origin of phrases such as “Big brother is watching” and the thought police, “1984” is a must-read – or in this case re-read – for anyone.

After that, my summer reading list gets a bit vague. I think it’s time to give James Joyce’s “Ulysses” another shot, along with some of my Russian challengers. I will also try to pick up a few books I should have read by now but haven’t, starting with Shakespeare’s histories. I have missed too many Jeopardy questions about King Henry the whatever to avoid this any longer.

So while the weather may not be cooperating, it is the time of year to start thinking about summer activities. Whether it be books or grilling with your mittens on, maybe if we keep pretending it’s as nice as it should be the weather will give in.

It’s worth a try.