The 2022 Sipped Ink Summer Read-Along

Friends, it’s that time of year again: time for the 8th annual running of the Sipped Ink summer read-along. Since 2014 a growing group of likeminded readers has tackled lengthy novels together over the course of several summer weeks. Now, I’m super excited to announce the book selected for this year’s read-along.

This year we will be reading Maggie Shipstead’s 2021 opus Great Circle. The book was shortlisted for last year’s Booker Prize, and is currently shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022. It’s my opinion that the less one knows going in to this novel, the better for one’s enjoyment. However, I’m not expecting anyone to jump into things entirely on faith, so here’s the briefest of descriptions offered by UK publisher, Penguin:

A soaring, breathtakingly ambitious novel that weaves together the astonishing lives of a 1950s vanished female aviator and the modern-day Hollywood actress who plays her on screen.

I read Great Circle last autumn, as part of a marathon of all 13 books on the Booker longlist. You can find my impressions of all those novels elsewhere on this website, but keep in mind that spoilers abound. To lessen the risk of you encountering something you’d prefer not to know at this stage, let me quote a section from my own review:

I can only say that I found Great Circle to be an unalloyed pleasure. The experience of reading it was reminiscent of first encounters with similarly ambitious novels, such as Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (2013). Having deliberately begun the novel with no prior knowledge, I was at first surprised and delighted, and then found myself walking the emotional tightrope of being so impressed and swept along by a novel that I was desperate for it to not falter! And it does not; having spent the best part of the last two days reading Great Circle I can honestly say I’m already looking forward to revisiting it in years to come.

And that time is now! Well, very soon: this summer’s Sipped Ink read-along will begin with an introductory email on Sunday 5 June, and we’ll start reading the following day. There will be an email newsletter from me each Sunday, discussing the week’s progress, until the final instalment on Sunday 17 July.

If you would like to join us to read this brilliant, epic novel just submit your email address in the box below. The only other thing you will need is a copy of the novel, which is due to be published in paperback, on 26 May. I’m sure your local indie bookstore would happily put one aside for you, or you could place a preorder on Bookshop.org using this link (full disclosure: I’ll get about £1 if you do!).

As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, you can write to me at mail@sipped.ink