Summer Reading Plans. Because It’s So Close I Can Almost Taste It.

As you can see, if you’ve been here at all, I’ve made a few changes at dolce bellezza. I’ve loved the woman on the sofa, with her cold Coke and ruffled bosom, but I’ve felt the need of a change. Something simpler, cleaner. And, after eight years of blogging I decided it was time to show my face. So here we are with a new look, however long it may last.
As for books, I’ve taken on three challenges this Summer not counting the Angela Carter Week which starts today. For this week, I’m almost halfway through Nights at the Circus which is the most wonderfully imaginative tale of feminism you could ever dream of. I’m completely enraptured by Fevvers, the giantess with wings. A proper review will be forthcoming when I finish it. I also hope to continue with The Magical Toyshop which I bought for this week as well.
This is the left-hand corner of my shelf holding Japanese literature. It is double stacked, and quite long; too much to fit into one photograph and certainly to fit into one summer. So, I narrowed down some of my choices to these books from Tuttle publishers, all of which will be given away during the course of the Japanese Literature Challenge:
(And Then by Soseki Natsume, Botchan by Soseki Natsume, Darkness in Summer by Takeshi Kaiko, and Rashomon and Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.)
Then, there’s Paris in July for which I hope to read this short stack:
(The Most Beautiful Walk In The World by John Baxter, On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis, and The Secret of Chanel No. 5 by Tilar J. Mazzeo)
Finally, there’s the Spanish Literature month hosted by Richard and Stu. I’ve been terrible with Spanish literature, failing to appreciate the great Roberto Bolano completely, so I think I’ll carry on with this little pile:
(The Nautical Chart by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Women Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.)
After eight years of blogging, it doesn’t even strike me the slightest bit odd how someone can dream up a challenge, and I can find the books for it in my own home. That just shows how much influence all of you have had on me (and how rotten our library is; if I want a work of translated fiction I jolly well ought to go out and buy it myself). 
Tomorrow is the last day of school. I tearfully said good-bye to the children Friday, but the state of Illinois now requires that teachers come one last day for School Improvement Meetings. So, let the reading commence in earnest Tuesday afternoon! I so hope to see you at these challenges, and certainly round the blog-o-sphere as Summer carries on. xo
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34 thoughts on “Summer Reading Plans. Because It’s So Close I Can Almost Taste It.”

  1. You look beautiful, Bellezza! And the new look of the blog is simpler yet still nice. I have also decided what I am going to read during summer, and we do share two challenges, but my last day of school will be on the 24th, so I have to be a little bit more patient 🙂 Happy summer, happy reading!

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  2. How lovely to see you, Bellezza.You look just like I pictured you. (People always look very nice in my imagination) 🙂 I'll miss the woman on the sofa though but I understand your wish for change.
    I'm glad to hear you like Nights at the Circus. I loved The Magic Toyshop.

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  3. Thanks, Harvee, and I'm glad that readers are able to find the spot to leave comments! I hope you can read one or two things for the Japanese Literature Challenge,too, but don't feel pressure!

    Ally, I can't believe you have to go so late! Probably you start in September? We begin the last week of August, when it's positively sweltering in Illinois. Happy Summer, happy reading to you, too!

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  4. Caroline, I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you have introduced me to Angela Carter! What a delightful writer, I don't know when I've seen such imagination, or such artful sentences. And, thanks for your sweet comments. I always picture people looking nice, too. xo

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  5. Hmm, I don't see a header with your photo at all. I'll have my husband take a look later and see if it's my computer.

    You have some fun challenges ahead of you! I have a few books ready to go for the Paris in July challenge. Now to carve out some time to actually read! I'm heading out to the yard as soon as I finish this comment. The weeds took over while we were in Oregon. Time to tame them once again.

    Oh, I read On Rue Tatin back in '07 and loved it! Reviewed here. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

    Here's to summer!

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  6. Love the new look – so simple and elegant!

    I was not able to see your photo when I clicked through from blogluvin, but it's there in the upper right corner when I go directly to your blog's homepage. Maybe Les is using blogluvin, too?

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  7. I really like your new lay-out, so clean (and yay, there's you!) 😀

    Good luck with the reading challenges. I'd love to take a peek at your J-lit shelves 😉

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  8. Thanks, JoAnn! Yes, I was using Bloglovin and after clicking over to the home page, I was able to see Meredith's beautiful photograph!

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  9. Bellezza, I remember that surgery. Was it really 8 years ago?! Nancy (Bookfool) and I better hurry up and visit you before another 8 years slip by… although we could celebrate my 60th together (eek!). 😉

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  10. You look wonderful, Bellezza! And your site looks great too! I like these changes.

    I have heard a lot about Nights at the Circus. Need to check it out.

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  11. Bermudaonion, I hope you have a fabulous summer, too. We've had gorgeous weather in the 70's that I'd love to share with everyone!

    Les, you have just made me move On The Rue Tatin to the top slot for Paris in July. I know if you loved it I will too.

    JoAnn, at least every one is able to find the place to leave comments, which is better than looking at my picture. Glad you like the “elegant” look which is now frustrating me because I cant seem to make threaded comments appear.

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  12. Carola, I wish I could show you the Japanese literature shelves that I have in person! This is one of the sad parts about blogging, that we can't connect as well as in real life. Glad you liked the clean layout, too.

    Les, can you believe that surgery was almost a decade ago?! That's when you sent me my first box of surprises, followed by so many other lovely gifts. It's amazing to think of so much time going so quickly.

    Athira, thanks for your kind words. Nights at the Circus is definitely an interesting read…so fanciful!

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  13. We all agree the new look blog and the new look you are looking fabulous 😉
    That's an impressive summer reading list. I miss my teaching days…only for the long summer break!

    It's our Queen's Birthday long weekend in Australia today – a cool, sunny, wintry day – the perfect weather for lazy reading in a sunny window nook – The Bloody Chamber fits the bill like a velvet glove.

    Happy reading.

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  14. An impressive summer reading list, but also a hefty one. I'm trying not to feel too daunted by what I've set out to read! Still, there's more time for me to read in the summer when I don't have to teach. I didn't know you were a teacher, too! I've said good-bye to the children on Friday, and that's the part I miss the most. Have a lovely day reading by the “sunny window nook”. Winter is my favorite season of all.

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  15. I am loving the new look of your blog 🙂 And, I love your hair – its fab! I love your summer reading plans – lots of wonderful challenges to tackle. I'm glad you are enjoying Fevvers – such a fascinating character. This post is inspiring me to freshen up my blog, join in on the reading challenges, and start pulling out books to read. I've been on a reading binge on my kindle – I've been tackling the Maisie Dobbs series and loving it! Am excited about summer 🙂

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  16. Happy summer Bellezza! Oooh, is it time for this year's Japanese Literature Challenge already? Sign me up! I really need to read some more Angela Carter. I've only read The Bloody Chamber but I LOVED that book so much! And Love in the Time of Cholera is such a beautiful book. I have that same edition 🙂

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  17. Nadia, you are always such an encouragement to me! I think “tackle” is the appropriate word for my (over)ambitious reading plans. Still. We'll see what I can accomplish. Trust you to know Fevvers already! I have t read any Maisie Dobbs, either, but I gave the first book to my dear neighbor and she's gone through each in the series. I guess I'll have to add her when autumn comes.

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  18. Happy Summer, Chris! I'm so glad you're up for the Japanese Literature Challenge again. I haven't read anything by Angela Carter, ever, so this is a new experience for me. Perhaps I could do The Bloody Chamber in the fall, it sounds a bit Halloweenish?

    I've had the copy of Love in The a Time of Cholera forever, it's about time I broke the spine. I'm feeling a bit unread lately compared to all of you who've already finished what I plan to start. 🙂

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  19. I really like the new look of your blog, Bellezza – very clean and clear. I'm up for July's Spanish lit challenge, although I'm still deciding which books to read. I'm not short of choice on that front, as I've about eight or nine in the house. I think you'll enjoy 'Love in the Time of Cholera' – looking forward to reading your posts, as ever.

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  20. I love the new look – very clean. I'm going to be reading Nights at the Circus this week too so I look forward to your thoughts on it.

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  21. Vicki, I think Nights At The Circus is a perfect way to discover Angela Carter. In many ways she reminds me of Margaret Atwood, they were even born in the same year (1939), yet she takes the magical realism even farther than Atwood. But, the themes of feminism are there in both.

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  22. Jacqui, isn't it fun to glean from one's shelves for a challenge? I'm looking forward to seeing what you decide upon. I still need to grow a stronger affection for Spanish literature. I enjoyed Javier Marias, as you know, and I love the women writers I've read: Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, Isabelle Allende. But many of the men? Not thrilling to me. I'll be interested to read Love in the Time of Cholera as everyone but me seems to have read it. 😉

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  23. sadly, I too can not see your new header or picture. 😦 not sure why? I am currently reading Child 44 from your recommendation. So much to think about in it. This may be the last of my reading for a while this summer as we are in the throws of planning a wedding!

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  24. Hmmm, I'm not sure why either, Sara. Are you on the blog itself? Because we found it that looking at it from a feed was not as effective…at any rate, I'm glad you visited. Child 44 is quite violent (that's a hesitation I felt about recommending it), but so good! The plot is so intricately woven, and realistic to me. Let's talk when you're done.

    Planning a wedding sounds so exciting!! Wow, the kids are grown aren't they? I'll come visit you. xo

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  25. I've already scheduled a Garcia Marquez re-read for the summer but now you have me wanting to re-read some Perez Reverte as well. I hope you have a very enjoyable summer of reading!

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  26. I've never read anything by Garcia Marquez before, so I'm really looking forward to discovering his writing. As for Perez Reverte, I know he's great at plot so that will be fun escapism this summer. Your list of reads for a Summer looks good, too.

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  27. Love the new look of your blog. And I'm glad you decided to show your lovely face! I'm glad you mentioned having many of the books for challenges in your collection already. I found this happening to me and was a bit startled by it (hoarding, you know). Decided that it was just natural for someone my age (our age), with a passion for reading and books, with a long history of book blogging, to have so many of these wonderful titles 🙂

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