Summer reading can range from the recreational, to a system reboot, to a total upgrade, depending on whether one is lazing on the beach or labouring in the study.
Life seems too short for recreation, but if I were to indulge I would tackle Parade’s End (Penguin Classics, 2002) by Ford Madox Ford, possibly the best novel about the Great War and its impact on British society.
Next year is the Sesquicentennial of the outbreak of the American Civil War so I will undertake a reboot by rereading Louis Menard’s brilliant intellectual history, The Metaphysical Club (HarperCollins, 2002), which won the Pulitzer Prize, as did James M. McPherson’s standard history, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford University Press, 2003).
For context, I look forward to reading A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen (Sentinel, 2007). This is nearly a thousand pages long and will involve a system upgrade.
Cultural warriors/worriers who wish to keep their disgust fresh may like The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism by Pascal Bruckner, (Princeton University Press, 2010), which complements The World Turned Upside Down by Melanie Phillips (Encounter, 2010).