I’m not dead yet!” Can you tell I’ve been listening to Spamalot? I apologize for the long siesta but between the end of the school year and my son graduating from high school, life has been busy. Finally, things have slowed down a bit. I have been reading a lot but have had little time to write. But now it is summer!!!
What is it that makes summer reading so different from the rest of the year? I know that for me personally, my kids are not in school so I am not reading as much while sitting in carpool lines or while waiting for rehearsal or lessons to finish up. Don’t get me wrong; the kids are still busy but my reading time has shifted.
During the summer, I read more in the morning, when the house is quiet and the teenagers are still asleep. I read during the heat of the day when really it is just too miserable to do anything else. I read in the evening when the temperature finally cools down and the fireflies are just starting to appear. Summer seems to provide more opportunities for longer stretches of reading time, but it is more than that. For some reason, I feel less guilty for spending time reading rather than flipping the laundry or running the vacuum or making dinner. Seriously though; it’s 100 degrees! Who wants to turn the oven on?!
The requirements of daily life relax a bit and time for reading take precedence over all. Throughout the school year, I find myself hoarding books to save for summer reading. Funny thing is that my kids do too!! Sometimes these books are ones that I know will take more time to process and think about, sometimes they are ones that may have more challenging content, but most often they are just books that I really want to read and enjoy and have the time to relish them.
When I was a kid, my grandparents had a cabin on a small island in Canada. I used to spend two months up there almost every summer. The morning meant chores: baking before the temperatures got too hot, weeding the garden, bailing the boats out, and so on. After lunch, it was my time. Pops almost always took an afternoon nap and Granny would spend time on her cross-stitch projects. The only television reception was one station of Canadian television, the only music was from an 8 track tape player, and there rarely were any other children around, so I read . . . a lot. With the windows open, there was just enough of a breeze to make it pleasant as I curled up on the old cracked vinyl couch on the front porch. I usually brought a suitcase full of books but I often resorted to pillaging my grandparents’ bookshelves. It was the summer that I turned 10 that I read To Kill a Mockingbird. At 12, it was Gone with the Wind and at 13, Anna Karenina. Summer was meant for not just enjoying my reading time, but rather full immersion.
So, what is on tap for this summer? The new John Flanagan Brotherband book The Ghostfaces just came out, and next week is the newest Lady Darby – As Death Draws Near – by Anna Lee Huber. I also have Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer sitting on my shelf; yes, I know it was released last October. Don’t judge; it’s been a busy year! I also still have a pile on my to-be-read shelf and who knows what I will discover when I take a break from the heat and venture into the nearest bookstore.
So, as the temps rise, embrace the true essence of summer. Be it on the beach, by the pool, or in your own living room, read and enjoy the season.