To me summer has always meant one thing: spending as many hours as possible reading, in a deck chair in the garden in the sun, in the cooling shade beneath a big tree or in the quietness of my room. The last two years at Uni have kept me busy even in my “summer holidays”, which meant I haven’t been able to pick and read all the books I wanted to. But this year I’m making up for that! I’m pretty sure my dad will frown at me when he sees the pile of books I insist on bringing with me to Sweden but how could I possibly choose between them?!
This is what I have picked out to read this summer:
The Blue Room – Hanne Ørstavik
I chose this as my first holiday read after going to a Peirene Supper Club, where the meeting with the kind, inspiring author and the talk around the dinner table made me curious to read this novella about a haunting mother-daughter relationship. Although it isn’t your typical light, feel-good summer read, I really liked it, especially for the precise, “simplistic” prose and the (open?) ending that left me wondering about the fate of the daughter Johanne. Did she finally lose herself in the end?
Sanctuary – Brian Dillon
In spring I went to the “Ruin Lust” exhibition that Dillon curated at Tate Britain, which not only got me into all the various works of art that deal with this subject but also Dillon’s own writing. I’m currently reading this book about a twenty-something woman’s search for her boyfriend at the last place he was seen at the ruin of a seminary and so far, I absolutely adore the eloquent prose and the images of the ruin that he conjures.
Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life – Marta McDowell
Even though I’m from DK, I grew up with the stories of Peter Rabbit from watching the VHS tapes over and over, and I always loved the little movies at the beginning of each story, where you would see “Beatrix Potter” (or rather an actress who played her) painting watercolours in a meadow. I came across this book, when I went to Kew Gardens and later picked it up at my local bookshop. I plan to read this in Sweden, while sitting beneath the old apple tree in the garden, with the hope of feeling inspired to do a bit of gardening myself. Despite my lack of ability to keep plants alive for more than a month.
The People in the Photo – Hélène Gestern
I picked this one up after one of my exams to treat myself and was caught by the interesting title. At the time I was in the middle of preparing for an exam about the relationship between photography, history and memory and I thought, what better way to understand this relationship than to read a novel about a woman, who tries to uncover the mystery behind a photo of her late mother, which she never got to know.
Kristin Marja Baldursdóttir – Karitas
It was my mum who recommended and told me about this novel about an Icelandic artist at the beginning of the 20th Century. She was sure I would love it because she knows I like historical fiction and because it doesn’t only describe the life of a female artist but also the beautiful Icelandic landscape. She also claims that it’s beautifully written and being such a lover of language, I can’t wait to read it!
Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir – Fra hus til hus
This book (which title can be translated as From house to house) is by the same author as ‘Karitas’ but takes place in the present day and is about the young women Kolfinna’s attempt to find herself again after she loses both her job and her boyfriend. I think this book will be my next pick, as it’s supposed to be very funny in places and I need a bit of fun after more heavy reads like ‘The Blue Room’ and ‘Sanctuary’. I sadly haven’t been able to find these two books in English translation but I know Karitas is available in French for those of you who can read it!
What do you plean to read this summer? *