Something about summer still fools me into believing that there are endless possibilities for improvement. Hence the new blog design. Well, if you can call it a 'design' when it's really just a header. I'm such a sucker for summer. And everyone knows that summer is a time for reinvention - in high school there were always a few people who arrived on the first day of school as a completely new person. Three months of freedom to find the new you. Of course, I don't really have the same kind of summer. I certainly don't have a three month break. But I am invigorated with the spirit of summer to revamp my online life at least. So far this has involved a new header for the blog. It's the blog's new summer haircut.
In other news, you'll notice that I've added a helpful tagline for the site - In The Leaves, a book blog. So just in case you ever forget, it's right there at the top of the page. So now it's official - I will be talking about books.
So, what will summer bring?
Summer Goals & Plans
I am so happy to be moving to London full-time. Over the past two years, I've spent 3-4 days each week in York, but the cross-country, 2-city lifestyle is finally coming to an end. I'm moving out of my York house at the end of June. I am particularly excited to have a proper London summer. Despite living in London for 18 months before my PhD, and despite living part-time in London these past few years, I have yet to have a real London summertime. Hopefully this year I won't be locked away in the library and I know I won't be escaping to the countryside, so I'm going to make the most of the summer city, when I'm not travelling that is.
You can definitely look out for some travel reading lists because I will be travelling quite a bit this summer. In July I will be going on a detox holiday to Mykonos - I have plans to unplug completely for a whole week. Then, I'm returning to Maryland for my cousins wedding at the end of July and staying on the farm for a few weeks. I'll also be visiting San Francisco in August, maybe Cape Cod as well. So, actually when all is said and done my London summer will be quite brief.
Reading/Blogging Plans and Goals
This summer, I will be taking on a few reading challenges and sharing a lot of my summer reading here on the blog.
At the end of the summer I'll be seeing Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, the new play on the West End, & you know I love any excuse to re-read the original Harry Potter books. I usually listen to the Jim Dale audiobooks (see my post extolling my love for Jim Dale's reading here), but summer is always a great time to sit down and read the series. I have such great memories reading the series on my parents back porch when I was younger. Summer is always in my mind as a Harry Potter season because of all the happy memories I have leading up to the new releases. For this re-read, I'm planning to share the journey with the blog so keep an eye out for Potter posts.
I am also tackling a few big 'classics' this summer. I generally dislike the term 'classics' as it's confusing given the traditional use of the term to refer to classical texts (i.e. ancient Greek and Roman). But that's neither here nor there. There is something about summer that makes me excited to read famous, long novels. This year I'm hoping to spend some time with Tolstoy and Proust and maybe George Eliot. It's daunting, but I love a challenge.
A project that will be stretching on beyond the summer is a refresh of my Spanish language skills. Part of this is going to be reading Don Quijote in the original. I've read parts of the book in Spanish before and I've read parts of it in English, but I've never read the whole thing cover to cover in either language. This is going to be a doozy of a challenge, but I'm really excited about it. And maybe next year I can do the same with my French language skills and read Proust in the original.
And of course I will be doing quite a lot of holiday/travel reading so I'll be sharing those experiences as well!
It's going to be an exciting summer for my reading life and I'm hoping to share all of the fun here on the blog. You may have noticed that my style is a little more casual and conversational and that's something I have been really enjoying, a more laid-back style. When I'm stressed, this blog is often the first thing on the chopping block for my daily schedule (hence the massive hiatuses), but with a more relaxed format I think it'll be easier for me to just stop by and ramble a bit about books, even when I'm busy. Anyway, I hope you're ready for some bookish rambling. And please do stick around if you want to celebrate a summer of reading with me!
Do you have any summer reading challenges this year? What are you most looking forward to this summer?