Well, that’s the Summer School over for another year. In some ways I think it was probably the best ever, although it was also the most tiring ever too. When I came home on Friday evening I was more exhausted than I can remember being in a long time. Fortunately, I now have a week with almost nothing in the diary, by accident rather than intent, so I can put my feet up and for the first few days, at least, read what I want to rather than what I need to. I do have a book group meeting to prepare for a week on Monday, but it’s a re-read and I’m not leading the discussion so a quick skim will probably suffice.
I think the reason the Summer School went so well this year was because both the subjects and the themes that the books dealt with were all so closely integrated. Some years the novels have been much more loosely linked, say with just the setting being the same, but the three texts we discussed this year were all to do with the victims of war, justice and narrative truth and so by Friday we were tossing around ideas that came from all of them and conversation got very deep indeed. It’s going to be a hard act to follow next year.
Now I’m looking forward to getting back to reading through the pile of books that have amassed while I’ve been so singularly focused. Each of the Summer School novels was part of a series and so I felt obliged to read much more widely than usual in order to be able to fill in necessary background. I don’t seem to have had a free choice of what I picked up since the middle of July. I had a trip to Oxford (for Oxford read Blackwells) a couple of weeks ago and came back with Anna Hope’s Expectation and Naomi Wood’s The Hiding Game, so both of those are near the top of the list. I also have a copy of the new Louise Penny Gamache novel, A Better Man, from which, very resolutely, I have been turning my eyes for the past three weeks. Such fortitude deserves to be rewarded, so I shall probably start there.