& the slipper still fits

5 Summer Reads: The Literary List

Happy summer holidays dear reader! I hope you're beginning to enjoy your lazy summer days just as much as I'm enjoying my busy ones (and if you have busy ones too, I hope you're having just as much fun as I am!). And as the summer days continue to light up the sky late into the night, I find myself reading more and more. This summer, I've been mixing classics with new releases, but as always, the classics seem to be trumping my top 5 list. Should we begin?

Yonec is hard to find, which is deeply annoying. (I might just have to make a typed copy from my version for you!) But once you find it, you'll completely enjoy this fairytale poem that will feel all too familiar. I have my copy in the Norton Anthology of Literature By Women part 1, and my copy is lovingly all marked up. Yonec is about a young woman locked away in a high tower by her old husband, confined to her gilded room. A lover, disguised as a hawk, flies into her room and romances her. Of course her creepy husband finds out and tragedy ensues, but this imaginative poem will remind you of your favorite fantasy movies.  

It's referenced in almost every Bronte novel ever written, how could I not sit down and read a copy of Ivanhoe this summer? Its got crusaders, Robin Hood, and almost every Harry Potter name. I'm surprised I haven't read it before! Now my copy is not in epic poem form, which makes me a little sad, but I'm going to be giving Ivanhoe a good strong try this summer. I'm sure it will be an easier read than Wurthering Heights for me... 

The Story of Avis will be a reread for me, but I can't wait to open to the first page and start it all over again. Avis is an artist living in New England around the turn of the civil war. Her father allows her to go to France to study painting and when she returns, she marries Philip Ostrander. Throughout the novel, Avis struggles to find a balance between her tumultuous marriage and her great art. Reader, Phelps is one of those authors who, if more canonically famous, would be right up there with Austen and the Brontes; her characters are just as vivid and her stories just as interesting.

Oh yeah, I went there. And this one isn't a rearead for me. You would think something is completely wrong with me, right? To have not actually read Le Morte d'Arthur yet. I blame it on very handsome men in 6 hour long adaptations. While there are three versions of Arthur's story by different authors, all considered basically canonical in Arthurian Legend lore, Malory's is the most quoted and the most referenced. I can't wait to see how much I don't know about the knights of the round table.

Ladies and Gents, this book is half Jane Eyre and half North and South in epic poem form. If there is one classic novel to buy and read this summer, pick up Aurora Leigh! To have me say anymore will make me sound like I'm raving on the floor, but Aurora Leigh is one of the 5 books I've ever read. Aurora wants to be a famous poetess and she will demand her whole life to the endeavour, even forsaking love with her bumbling and haughty cousin Romney Leigh. Aurora Leigh is one of those great roller coaster classics with a large social commentary and tinge of Romanticism (and characters that remind you of your favorites, isn't half bad either).

What are you planning to read this summer? I love adding more must reads to my list!