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Top ten books on my summer TBR list

Read a book for summertime fun

Summer reads and books for the beach

The Broke and the Bookish

I love reading. I love books. This year I want to bring reading into sharper focus. One of my goals is to give reading and books more space, time, and attention including follow-up reviews. As you can imagine, I’m really looking forward to my time with all these authors, characters, and stories. My summer reading list is divided into three parts: books for writers, books for fun, and classic books to celebrate.

Books for Writers

For fun, I read books about writing, language, story and structure. I’ve always enjoyed them. My library includes books by authors on craft as well as autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs. This summer I have three at the top of my list.

  1. The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts into Words, Revised and Expanded by Arthur Plotnik – If I want a rollickin’ good time while steeped in words, language, and sentence structure, I grab a book by Art Plotnik. His enthusiasm gushes from the page and spills all over me leaving me drenched in laughter. It’s summertime. I want to have fun reading about writing.
  2. The Elephants of Style : A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English by Bill Walsh – I’ve seen this book off and on over the years but never got around to reading it. It’s time.
  3. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch – I can’t wait for this one to land on my doorstep later today. I’ve heard wonderful things about it and it fits in with my mood this summer. 

Books for fun

Reading books at the beach during the summer

My beach reads 2012

Do you have any “lurkers?” You know the ones. Those books that appear to be cloaked, out of sight, out of mind, yet still in plain sight. There are times when I’m capable of great exhibitions of book blindness. Then one day those same books reappear. They’re like those Klingon vessels that would plague Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. The following is a list of those pesky lurkers.

  1. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood by Mary McCarthy – I’m nearly through with this one and will be reviewing it soon. McCarthy is known for her writing and her memoir gained a lot of praise in its day; however, I am struggling.
  2. Transformation in Christ by Diedrich von Hildebrand – I’m in the midst of this spiritual classic and taking it slow. I want time to for my thoughts to marinate. Look for a review later this summer.
  3. Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World by Hugh Brewster – I’ve never read anything about the Titanic or even seen one of the much talked about movies. After watching Brewster give a great talk filmed by C-Span about a month ago, I had to get the book.
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Book 1 of the Millennium Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) by Stieg Larsson – I’m probably one of the last to open these covers but not for lack of interest. This is a priority read this summer no matter what. 
  5. Silence of the Grave (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries, No. 2) by Arnaldur Indridason – I call him the “I” guy because I have trouble remembering his name but definitely not his writing. I’m looking forward to spending more time experiencing his imaginative landscape.

Books to celebrate

Have a Charles Dickens birthday reading the classics summer.

Charles Dickens

The next group of books are part of my personal Back-to-the-Classics campaign. They are books culled from my book list for The Classics Club. Two are part of my birthday tip-of-the-hat to Charles Dickens and the Dickens birthday bicentennial celebration, and the rest are part of my summer Victorian reading celebration. Here they are:

  1. Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson
  2. The Woman in White by Wilke Collins
  3. The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
  4. The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition by Oscar Wilde
  5. Through the Looking-Glass – Original Version by Lewis Carroll
  6. The Pickwick Papers (Vintage Classics) by Charles Dickens
  7. Nicholas Nickleby (Arcturus Paperback Classics) by Charles Dickens

Those are the books center stage for my summer reading. How about you? What’s topping your summer reading list? Use the comment section below and share your plans.

Thanks to the folks at The Broke and The Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday weekly meme and for their Top Ten Tuesday image featured above. 
Ready to read the classics? Join The Classics Club. My 5 year 50+ booklist is here: The Classics Club project.

      • IMAGE & IMAGE & AFFILIATE CREDITS: Book covers and titles are affiliate links and sourced via Amazon; Barefoot and Beach Reading copyright 2010 Vikk Simmons, all rights reserved; Dickens cartoon via The Dickens Fellowship; Mr. Charles Dickens’s Last Reading via

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    Great list. I haven’t heard of a lot of those. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is really good. I hope you enjoy it. 

  • Jillian

    I want to read that Tolstoy and the Purple Chair book too! But I don’t own it, so it’ll probably be a while. I love reading books about books. :)

  • Denise Farmer

    Great list!! I read Tolstoy and the Purple Chair last year and really enjoyed it.  It was one of my favorite reads of 2011.  I also really loved The Woman in White. 
    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Amy@bookmusings

    Thank you for mentioning Travels… by R. L. Stevenson.  I hadn’t heard of it and was only familiar with his adventure novels that my boys love.  I’ve just been over to Amazon and it looks lovely!

  • Deb at Readerbuzz

    Your resolve is admirable! You are a role model for all readers.

  • Lauren @ Story Bound

    I LOVE The Woman in White! Such a good book! 

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • Becki Weston

    THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is a brilliant book. That was a great list, it looks like you’ve got a LOT to get through – hope you enjoy them all!

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks, Amy. I’ve heard good things about the book and have really been lax about reading it. 

  • Vikk Simmons

    Tolstoy came yesterday and it looks terrific. I’m having to force myself to stay focused on finishing my main read. I KNOW I’ll start reading and won’t want to put it down. :)

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks! And thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m looking forward to rereading Woman in White. 

  • Vikk Simmons

    Your welcome. I’d forgotten all about this Stevenson title until I was sorting through my Heritage Books and re-shelving them for The Classics Club reading plan when I found it. It went onto the list immediately. I love travel-related books and this is an early one. 

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks, Deb. Let’s hope my resolve stays rooted in action. :) 

  • Dale

    A great list!  I’ve seen Tolstoy and the Purple Chair a number of times.  Sounds good!  I read the Dragon Tattoo books last summer.  Curious as to what you think of them?  Your classic list is great!