The summer reading lists seem to pop up everywhere, and I ask myself, “What is this free summer reading time that everyone talks about?” Adulthood is tough, guys.

But regardless, I am attempting. Friday night, I started simultaneous book #4 because I’m insane. Right now I have free time, so instead of actually using it to… y’know… read, I present my own little list, both current reads and ones I’d like to accomplish before September makes life crazy.

The Read & Reading…

J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit: Would you believe that in all my years of fantasy nerdiness, I never read this book until just a couple months ago? Alas, it’s true, but I have lots to catch up on. This little prequel to The Lord of the Rings has been waiting patiently on my shelf for several years, occasionally started, but never explored past the first chapter or two. This is a delightful adventure story and a magical introduction to Middle Earth. I wish I’d read this first.

A favorite quote: “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”

A.S. Peterson – Fiddler’s Green: Another one I took way too long to finally pick up, but what a great story it was! Last year, The Fiddler’s Gun was my Favorite Fiction Debut, but this one was even better. Peterson’s storytelling voice is sure and his characters compelling, and the setting of a world on the brink of revolution brings history to life much better than any class I ever sat through. A worthy, beautiful conclusion to Fin Button’s story that leaves me eagerly waiting for the next adventure from this author.

Also, it has knights and pirates! What more could you want in a summer book?

Dorothy Sayers – The Mind of the Maker: I call this Hutchmoot Homework. One of my summer goals was to clear a few things from the Book List so I won’t have to hide behind my coffee and pretend I know what everyone’s talking about when Rabbit Roomers start a-chinwagging. This would be my first check off the list.

The first chapter was, I admit, quite dense and felt a little like swimming the Amazon upstream, but after a while, it became quite an intriguing read. Very heady, lots of philosophy and theology, but the gist of her thesis is exploring the idea of being a sub-creator made in the image of the ultimate Creator. I’ll probably have more thoughts later, but for now, I’ve learned to just read and let it stretch my mind. And underline and note the margins. A lot.

Kazuo Ishiguro – Nocturnes: Another I’m working through now, short stories by the author of Never Let Me Go. I picked this up at Borders’ closing sale (RIP) because the title, the cover, and the concept (five interwoven stories about music and nightfall) was intriguing. Just two stories in, I’ve found these little tales seem to have more to do with human relationships and malaise than anything else, but whether the characters create it or obsess over it, the mystery of music ties the stories together. (In that way, it reminds me of High Fidelity. But not.)

And on the To-Read Pile…

Andrew Peterson – The Wingfeather Saga: I’ve been wanting to read The Monster in the Hollows since it showed up in my mailbox, but the neurotic, completist part of me just can’t until I revisit the first two books. So, even though I’ve got, like, other books going, I picked up On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness Friday night and pushed through until I couldn’t stay awake. Summer makes me crave fantasy, wonder, and excitement. I doubt I can get through them all before September, but hey, nothing wrong with trying, right?

Steven Pressfield – The War of Art: Another dose of Hutchmoot Homework, one that I expect will be an easier read than The Mind of the Maker, but no less potent and helpful. This book de-mystifies creative blocks (or “Resistance”) and offers encouragement and advice for fighting through and creating something beautiful… something I know I could really use right now. :)

Kathleen Norris – Acedia and Me: I picked this up in the library, stood in a corner, and read the first few chapters in one sitting… er… standing. I was tempted to check it out (justifying the temptation with “but it’s Hutchmoot Homework!”) but seriously… no. I have enough at home I need to read. But perhaps I’ll squeeze it in. Those first few chapters were compelling, at least…

Maggie Stiefvater – Forever: Yes, I know. Whatever. Werewolf Action. And after the awful ending of Linger, I must.

As you can see, I have way too many I want to read and could quite possibly be in over my head this summer. Oh, if only I could duck into a closet to Narnia and hide in there until I get them all done…

What are you reading? And what’s on your summer list?