Often summer is devoted to children's summer reading programs, complete with game sheets and prizes. But nothing for the adults. How sad is that? Very.
So I thought I would share some of my summer titles that are lined up on the bookcase in the dining room, on my great-grandmother's hope chest in the living room and by my bedside nightstand. I won't list the various mysteries scattered about in my car, on my desk and in my handbag. Those are a year-round staple, my escape mechanism, especially British mysteries, old and new. But that's another entry altogether . . .
Every summer I go through this ritual of planning a series of books to read over the next weeks of warm summer nights, sitting on the deck or in the garden, surrounded by birds chattering and singing as they romp from feeder to feeder. These books must be special, not just your run-of-the-mill bestseller or mystery. Writing that is well-crafted is rare these days, so one should savor it when found. They are books that stay with you days, weeks after finishing. Phrases and images linger like a dream. You find yourself thumbing through them again to find that exact passage that made your emotional skin tingle.
Terry Tempest Williams is a phenomenal writer and fighter for the natural world around us. She is also a poet, creating wordscapes that amaze.
Another writer who I have written about before is Ellen Meloy, and this is the second book I am going to read. I anticipate surprise, as she leaves the reader breathless in her wonderful twists and observations.
To leap to another realm, I am reading Peter Turchin's work on the imagination, maps and writers -- what a combination! Sometimes it's a struggle, but I am intrigued by his insights and connections.
On my nightstand I usually keep a stack of poetry. I find that after a long day at the office, working with budgets and computers, the rhythms and lyrical sounds of poetry soften the nerves and ease the mind. I have most of Mary Oliver's works, Octavio Paz' A Tree Within and Eavan Boland, an Irish poet who now lives and teaches poetry in San Francisco, I believe.
Helen Humphreys is an intriguing writer, quietly serene in her writing, yet there is an underlying depth that is not obvious at first. In this book, she writes a series of short stories based upon each time the Thames River froze over. We shall see -- unique, I hope.
I know there will be other books along the way, the ones you stumble on in a used bookshop while on vacation or that a friend places in your hands and claims you must read this! And, of course, there are all those paperback mysteries scattered about as I mentioned before -- nothing like a few dead bodies to keep one's spirits up, I say.
I wish everyone a safe and fun holiday break -- and if you read 5 summer books before August 31st, you may win a prize -- who knows? :-)))