Introductions suited for summer reading
Dubbed "The Jungle of the American library system," this is a *bit* of a period piece already (archival practices have changed significantly), but an engaging introduction to some of the very real challenges facing archivists.
Manguel, A History of Reading
At once personal and sweeping across millennia, a delightful meditation on the history of reading.
Spacks, Novel Beginnings: Experiments in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction
My go-to introduction for the "threads" of novel development. A good place for new students to get a useful lay of the land in one go.
New Statesman's "The Great Forgetting: Women Writers Before Austen" (great short series with lots of my favorite people)
BBC's In Our Time (dry, but informative)