The sixth annual Studies in Literature class “Sharing A Good Read: Recommendations for Summer Reading” event took place on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in the Ellen Knox Library. Fourteen members of the Havergal community took part, recommending a total of 35 titles.

Our theme this year was “Good stories happen to those who can tell them.” Trends included novel series, Shirley Jackson and literary classics. Among the series recommended were My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Elizabeth Jane Howard’s The Cazalet Chronicles, Armisted Maupin’s Tales of the City and The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn. The latter series has been adapted as a miniseries starring Benedict Cumberbatch which debuted on May 12.

If mystery novels are your guilty pleasure, consider two of Shirley Jackson’s novels that were recommended by different students. The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in a Castle were the titles presented. The latter novel has been made into a movie to be released soon starring Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario and Sebastian Stan.

Literary classics figured prominently too. Ann Rand’s The Fountainhead, Virgil’s The Aeneid, George Orwell’s Down and Out in London and Paris, Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest were among the titles nominated. Incidentally, the Literature class also studied Lady Windermere’s Fan, an earlier Wilde play.

Every year there are some non-fiction recommendations. Featured at the event were a collection of essays, When I Was a Child by Marilynne Robinson and Tom Mitchell’s The Penguin Lessons, a true story that takes place at our exchange partner school, St. George’s College, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Netflix series The Keepers was recommended among many murder mysteries championed.

This year we had a recommendation within a recommendation – rather like a story within a story. The magazine World Literature Today is itself worth reading, and a title discovered in the magazine, The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luisella, was also shared. You can check out the magazine and story here. Every year there is always at least one poetry collection presented, and this year’s title was No Meeting Without Body by Annick MacAskill.

Other novels praised included Lincoln in the Bardot, Autumn, See You in the Cosmos, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Lucky Boy, The Immortalists, Call Me By Your Name, The Vegetarian, A Little Life, Lonely Hearts Hotel, The Goldfinch, The Secret History, The Virgin Suicides and Dark Places.

Looking for something lighter for the cottage? Crazy Rich Asians and Standard Deviation were suggested.

 

Books

 

The following books were recommended by the students, parents, siblings and faculty who attended the evening on May 9.

 

Bildungsroman

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, recommended by Tony Nardi
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, recommended by Kate Lunau and Tony Nardi

 

Drama

  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, recommended by Christina Au
  • No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, recommended by Audrey Chan

 

Essays

  • When I was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson

 

Fiction

  • The Aeneid translated by Robert Fagles by Virgil, recommended by Mark Reuter
  • Autumn by Ali Smith, recommended by Sarah Croft
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, recommended by Tony Nardi
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, recommended by Tony Nardi
  • Lincoln in the Bardot by George Saunders, recommended by Sarah Croft
  • Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran, recommended by Tony Nardi
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, recommended by Julia Dubrowolski
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, recommended by Julia Dubrowolski
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt, recommended by Tony Nardi
  • Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny, recommended by Tess Shields
  • Tales of the City series by Armisted Maupin, recommended by Sandra Langdon
  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, recommended by Julia Dubrowolski

 

Gothic Fiction

  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, recommended by Kate Lunau

 

Historical Fiction

  • Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill, recommended by Karen Au

 

Literary Fiction

  • The Cazalet Chronicles series by Elizabeth Jane Howard, recommended by Helen McLean
  • My Brilliant Friend series by Elena Ferrante, recommended by Gina Boncore
  • The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn, recommended by Julia Dubrowolski
  • The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luisella, recommended by Laura McRae
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang, recommended by Kate Lunau
  • World Literature Today magazine, recommended by Laura McRae

 

Memoir

  • Down and Out in London and Paris by George Orwell, recommended by Chereen Ng
  • The Penguin Lessons by Tom Mitchell, recommended by Sandra Langdon

 

Mystery

  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, recommended by Kate Lunau
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, recommended by Julia Dubrowolski

 

Non-Fiction

  • An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Education by Tony Little, recommended by Sandra Langdon

 

Philosophical Fiction

  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, recommended by Zoe Leong

 

Poetry

  • No Meeting Without Body by Annick MacAskill, recommended by Laura McRae

 

Unsolved Murder Docuseries

  • The Keepers on Netflix, recommended by Kate Lunau

 

Young Adult Fiction

  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, recommended by Karen Au
  • See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, recommended by Karen Au