The mercury has been flirting with the triple digits, which means that summer is almost upon us out here. Yesterday I went to my local independent bookseller and picked up for my son the materials detailing this year's summer reading challenge, so now that that's out of the way, I can focus on what I'm going to read!
Last year, I set some pretty ambitious goals for myself, none of which I made. This year I'm scaling back my ambitions somewhat, though I'm also scaling back my podcast reading so that I'll have the time for what I do decide to read. Here's what I have in mind for now:
Modern European history - This fall I'm scheduled to teach our modern European (post-1789) history survey. It's one of my favorite classes, yet one that I haven't taught in a while and frankly my lectures need a little updating. I'm probably going to start with Richard Evans's volume in the Penguin History of Europe series, target a couple of books on my TBR list, and take care of others on my shelf that have been on there for far took long. The holy grail in this respect is Peter Gay's five-volume history of the 19th century European middle class, but this is where that pledge to scale back my ambitions probably needs to kick in, so I might have to settle for Klaus Theweleit's books on the fantasies of Freikorps members, which has considerable relevance to the world in which we're living today.
The Chaco War - This is a follow-up to my recent read on the Paraguayan War, as I decided to read up on the major South American war of the 20th century. There are two books on the conflict in English, both of which look to be fairly easy reads.
Hornblower! - So far I've read four of the eleven books; reading the others sounds like a nice way to pass some of the hours while staying out of the heat.
All of this will be in addition to whatever I'm sent to review and cover in a podcast, but I think this summer will see me achieving more of my reading goals than the last one.