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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

I love to read. My to-be-read list is ever-expanding. Unfortunately, due to the busyness of the school year and the heavy reading load for my classes, I don’t usually feel like I have much time to read for pleasure. 

Summer is the perfect opportunity to devour some books I’ve been interested in reading. I stayed in Davis last summer to work; my schedule had a lot of gaps between shifts where I could fit in time to read, which I was so grateful for. This summer, I’m hoping to fit time to read into my schedule similarly and read books on my list. 

‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce

Joyce’s novel Ulysses, published in 1922, is recognized as one of the most significant literary works of the 20th century. It’s also about 800 pages long, and incredibly challenging to read. In the fall, I’m taking an English seminar course on Ulysses—we’ll be making our way through the text over the course of the quarter. It is honestly a daunting task. And so, I don’t actually plan on or want to read the entirety of the novel this summer; my plan is to get a taste of it before the class begins.

‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce

This selection is completely related to the presence of Ulysses here. Dubliners is a collection of short stories by Joyce, published a few years before Ulysses. From what I’ve heard, it’s useful to be familiar with Dubliners before tackling Ulysses. I’ve read a few of the stories, but I plan on finishing the book in preparation for the seminar.

‘Nightwood’ by Djuna Barnes

This has been high on my list for months now, but I haven’t found the time to fit it in yet. Despite having Nightwood on my radar since winter quarter, I couldn’t tell you what it’s about (and the synopsis section on Wikipedia is pretty long, so I’m not going to attempt a summary). But, I do know it’s a modernist novel, which is a literary movement I generally enjoy and am interested in. It’s also regarded as a foundational work of queer literature for its depiction of a lesbian relationship; at this point in literary history, stories with queer relationships were not frequently published.

‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’ by Truman Capote

I came across Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms, on a reading list of one of my favorite musicians (Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney). Music is a form of creative expression and writing much like literature, so I was interested in checking out books loved by a musician I love. Set in the deep South and evocative of the Southern Gothic, Other Voices follows a young boy who is sent to live with his estranged father after his mother’s death. I really enjoy reading books where location is central to the story, especially in the summer; it becomes more immersive and although I’ll be in Davis, I like the feeling of transporting somewhere else in the summer. The novel is also semi-autobiographical, which piqued my interest because I like thinking about the line between fiction and nonfiction in memoir and semi-autobiography.

Hopefully summer provides me the time to not only get through these books, but even more of the stories that populate my reading list. Here’s to the end of the quarter and more free time in the summer.

Raised in Southern California, currently studying English Lit at UC Davis. Banana pudding enthusiast and aspiring corgi owner.