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3rd July
written by Steph
As many of you dear readers know, a few months back, Tony & I got engaged.  What some of you may not know is that we're getting married ONE WEEK from today.  Crazy, but true!  If you've been wondering at the relatively sporadic stream of updates over the past month or two, I think we can probably blame frantic wedding planning... But this post is not about weddings.  Not really.  It's a call to arms, where I ask fellow readers to help me plan my reading pile that I'll drag along with us for our week-long honeymoon.  We'll be driving Pip down to Charleston, SC, where we'll spend five days, and then we'll be spending 3 days in Savannah, GA.  And yes, pictures will follow!  On my last pseudo-vacation back in May, I tried bringing one loooooong book with me, figuring that would cut back on my needing to haul many tomes with me.  Only that didn't pan out so well, because about 350 pages into the looooong book, I started to get bored, and consequently didn't do much reading.  So for our honeymoon, I don't want to be caught emptyhanded and plan to bring several books with me just to keep all my bases covered. I have two categories of books I'm specifically looking for, so hopefully everyone will get to play!  If you know of any books that fall into either category (or both!), please let me know so that my honeymoon (and the rest of this summer) can be a reading success! 1.  Southern Fiction I know that Maggie over at Maggie Reads has been hosting a Southern Reading Challenge, so hopefully some of y'all can help me out with my specific request.  I'm particularly looking for any literature set in Charleston or Savannah to accompany me on my trip.  I'm already planning to bring John Berendt's Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil with me (is there a more "Savannah" novel than that?) and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind (perhaps not strictly a Savannah read, but we're going to see plantations, so close enough).  So maybe I have Savannah covered (but don't let that stop you if you know of some other great reads that are set there or even just pass on through), but so far Charleston's been a complete bust.  Everything set there (or in the vicinity) looks to be trashy romance novels or just general pulpy stuff I've no interest in reading.  Anyone know of anything good set or written there?  I may wind up bringing our little collection of Edgar Allen Poe, since he was a fan of the region (particularly Sullivan's Island, I believe), even if he does seem a bit macabre for a honeymoon.  As an extension, I'm happy to accept suggestions set in the Carolinas or Georgia, even if you can't get them square in those particular cities. 2.  "Summer-y" Classics I want to read more classics, but so many of them just don't "feel" like summer reading.  As much as I want to tackle Great Expectations, it just doesn't seem like the kind of book to read on the beach or by the pool (more like the kind of book to read curled up on your couch with a mug of tea in hand and puppies warming your feet).  So can any of you suggest some great summer reads that would also be construed as classics?  I've already done Forster's Room With A View last summer, and I do have a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo I need to get back to at some point (but recall me not wanting to haul a huge 1000+ book with me on vacation), so no need to suggest those.  Also, Jane Austen's a given and goes without saying (so, you know, don't say her!).  But what else should I try?  I realize I'm not giving much direction here, but surely some of you know what I mean when I say certain classics feel summer-y and others don't, right?  Like: Vanity Fair by Thackeray, yes;  Wuthering Heights, no;  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, yes;  Dracula, no; All The King's Men by Warren, yes; Bleak House, hell no!  It's totally arbitrary, I know, and yet I unerringly feel like most classics fall into Autumn & Winter reading...  So help me, please!  What classics have you successfully read and enjoyed in the summer months? Hopefully I'll wind up with more requests than I can reasonably handle over our honeymoon, but that's not a bad problem to have!  I'll look forward to reading things even once I return back to Nashville.


  1. Congratulations! Are you sure you want to be reading on your honeymoon though!! lol!
    I’m sure you’ll love Gone with the Wind, but it is very long, so you may need more than a week to read it – it took me 6 weeks! I liked breaking to read other books though. Have you read Mudbound by Hilary Jordan? That is a really good book for the Southern reading challenge, as is Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred Taylor.

    I’m afraid I can’t help you with the classics though – I haven’t read anything summery.

    I hope the wedding plans are going well.

    Good luck!

  2. 07/03/2009

    I can’t think of any really good recommendations for you right now, but I wanted to tell you congratulations again and to wish you a beautiful and memorable wedding and honeymoon. I can’t wait to see some of your pictures when you get back. Don’t forget to get one of you in those awesome shoes!

  3. 07/03/2009

    Oooh Steph and Tony! Happy honeymoon!!

    LIke Jackie Said, Gone with the Wind is so good, but so (physically) heavy you might not want to drag that along.

    I can’t think of any classics that are very summery other than Austen, so I don’t know. Have you read Like Water for Chocolate though? I know it’s not a classic, but it’s summery? Lol.

  4. Eva

    I can’t think of any Charleston books, but have fun on your honeymoon!

    I think Trollope’s a summery kind of classic author. I haven’t read any Gaskell (yet! have one of hers from her library), but from the BBC adaptations of her I’ve seen she seems summery.

  5. 07/04/2009

    I’m so excited you’re get married so soon! Mazel tov!

    I haven’t read Gone with the Wind, but if you’re thinking of Southern lit, how about some Faulkner? I have read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and it was all right. It starts off really strong, but by the end, I was ready for it to end. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was one of my favorite novels when I was younger.

    You know I love lugging heavy books around, but I’m at a loss as to what “summery” one to recommend. My first thought was Vanity Fair. Hmm.

    Now, I know that this is not a classic, but it may be a good time to ready The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I think it would make for a wonderful vacation read.

    Have a great time. Congratulations again! Please post at least a million pictures!

  6. Lu

    I’m so excited for you!!!!!!!!! Seriously. I can’t wait to see pictures.

    I just went on a huge YA kick, so I recommend:
    An Abundance of Katherines
    Paper Towns
    The Uglies series

    I also recommend for light summery classic reading:
    Definitely Kindred by Octavia Butler! It’s kind of a newer classic, but totally worth it.
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith! If you haven’t read this, go read it NOW. In my top 10.

    Ahhh Happy wedding! I can’t contain my excitement for you 🙂

  7. Laura

    Here’s my suggestion for a short, fun summer read (even read aloud) – Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.

    See you in a few days!! EEEEKKK!!!

  8. 07/04/2009

    First, thanks to everyone for all the well wishes. I expect things to get especially hectic come Monday, but for now I’m trying to enjoy the rest of the long weekend and not freak out! Less than a week to go now… crazy!
    @ Jackie: Hmmmm… based on your comment (and Claire’s), I’m now reconsidering bringing GWTW on the honeymoon. Maybe I’ll save it for afterwards, as a nice way to relive the trip. I haven’t read either of the Southern options you suggested, so I’ll have to look into those and see if either strikes my fancy. I’m currently starting quite the queue at the library! 😉
    @ zibilee: No worries! I’ll be sure to get one (or several!) pictures of The Shoes. They are so great they really do need to be showcased.
    @ Claire: I haven’t read Like Water For Chocolate, but I’ve heard it’s good. And I’m definitely planning to eat my way through Charleston (SO many good restaurants there it looks like!), so it would probably be appropriate!
    @ Eva: Funny you should mention Trollope – I actually randomly took a book by him (The Eustace Diamonds) out from the library on our last trip. It was a total whim, but skimming the first few pages, it really does seem whimsical and summer-y. And I’ve heard Gaskell might be good choice as well, though I’ve not tried anything by her yet so I can’t say. I’ll look forward to your review of her!
    @ Chavonne: Oh no, not Faulkner! 😉 I recently got rid of my copy of The Sound & The Fury because I realized I was never going to be able to get through it ever. The stream of consciousness writing he employs there just makes my eyes cross! But I do think you’re dead right with suggesting Thackeray – the last time I tried Vanity Fair (well over 5 years ago at this point) it was in the summer. I only stopped because classes started in the Fall and I got sidetracked. Oh, and actually, just in time, the Literary & Potato Peel Society book just came in for me at the library. So I probably will read that while on vacation!
    @ Lu: I’ve heard of some of the titles on your list, but only a few mind you. But never fear, I HAVE read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (a long while back, though!), and I loved it too. I believe my grandma was the person to encourage me to read it. It’s definitely a good one.
    @ L’Ell (heh): I actually read Ella Minnow Pea a couple of years ago. But definitely a great pick on your part, as it is very summery and also takes place around the Carolinas, I believe. It was really cute, though I think I didn’t realize that the title was a play on “LMNOP” until after I finished reading it. D’oh!
    Can’t wait for you to get here! Aieeeee!

  9. 07/08/2009

    Huge congratulations to both of you!! Sorry I don’t have any good recommendations in either category – we’re on a month-long trip right now and I have four or five books from Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series (that Master and Commander was based on) with me but I don’t think it’s either southern or summery. Oh well 🙂

    Have a WONDERFUL wedding and honeymoon!

  10. 07/15/2009

    I know I’m way too late, but Enchanted April is a beautifully summery classic. Anything by Fitzgerald. Anything by Hemingway (even the snowy ones.) What did you wind up bringing?

    Congratulations on your wedding — I know you will be blissfully happy! I look forward to pictures!

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