" Books and summertime
go together. "
Although I love to read anytime, there is something about soft hazy summer days that brings out an especial longing to drift away on a breeze and disappear into a good book. Hot summer afternoons lend a delicious idleness to them that is ideal for reading. I think about what I like to read in the summertime. For starters, I like my books to be sunshine infused, where stories remind me of childhood and summer holidays, where there's adventure, mystery, a little romance - all with plenty of twists and surprises to keep me turning the pages. I like a mix of old seasonal favourites with new to me titles, a mix of fiction and non-fiction, a mix of lighthearted alongside something more inspiring and creative in scope. Sometimes I pick up books I read as a girl and enjoy them all over again - it doesn't take much to remember those long ago moments. I like stories that remind me that the world is still beautiful, even in the midst of the haunting hard and terrible things.
I also like the kind of books—poetry, nature diaries, or seasonal essay collections—that allow me to dip into a few lines here, a short chapter there, gathering food for thought, that sweet ambrosia for the soul, much the way bees flit in and out of blossoms to gather nectar. Such books come to mind as The Sound of Water (Haiku) by various poets, A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively, An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter, Calm Things by Shawna Lemay, not to forget any of Susan Branch's enchanting books, to name a few.
" Today I'd like to sit and read. Forget I have a job I need.
Ignore the things I have to do. And just enjoy a book or two. "
If it's a novel I'm reading, I want stories that I can delve into, where I really get to know the characters. They need to be people I can care about. I want to vicariously visit places I've never been before, but I also like reading books that describe places I have visited. It adds a sense of insider knowledge, an element of fun that keeps me watching for familiar scenes. For example, I visited Venice years ago on a holiday, so when I recently read The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen, I loved encountering spots in the novel where I could say, I saw that, I was there, oh yes, I recognize that description. By the way, I really enjoyed the novel, a historical fiction of love and secrets, the tale of two women, a generation apart, set (mainly) in Venice during the pre-war years of WWII and then the months following 9/11.
One other thing when it comes to summer reads, I definitely want storylines that engage all the senses and let me sink into good writing with lovely lines that can be included in my ever increasing collection of perfected thoughts. For all the misadventures in any story, I do need to have reasonably happy endings, and if not exactly happy, well then, at least hopeful. For I can withstand a lot of trouble in the story if I can feel hope for better days ahead.
" One benefit of Summer was that each day
we had more light to read by. "
The photo above reveals the start of my reading pile for this summer, a mix of old and new to me. I'm just starting a thrift store find The Ladies' Lending Library by Canadian author Janice Kulyk Keefer. So far, it's a rather drifty tale, set in 1963, of a group of women who bring their kids to the summer cottage while husbands work in the city and meet them on the weekends.
Currently, I am waiting for a couple of books on order. One is due to arrive tomorrow and the other not until August.
This Beautiful Truth
How God's Goodness Breaks into Our Darkness
by Sarah Clarkson
In her new book, Sarah shares her own encounters with beauty "in the midst of her decade-long struggle with mental illness, depression, and doubt." Having read her delightful book The Book Girl (you can see what I say about it HERE) I've come to appreciate Sarah so much. She is well read and is such a thoughtful writer of beautiful words and ideas. I eagerly await the arrival of her newest.
The Madness of Crowds
by Louise Penny
I have been enthralled ever since I first met Louise Penny and her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels set in Three Pines. I'm now madly waiting for the August 24th release of her latest spellbinding novel. These books are perfect summer reads.
The Rose Code
by Kate Quinn
Some of you were interested in my further thoughts about The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. I LOVED it. It was a page-turner thriller with some great female characters and an intriguing plot. If you are interested in the historical Bletchley Circle stories from Britain in World War II, enjoy a good love story, with a twist of mystery, this is the book. With over 600 pages, in a lovely font and layout, gentle on my older eyes, it's perfect for reading well into the night while the sun stays up late with you. I started reading on a Friday and was finished by Sunday 10:00 pm. It was a book I was quite ready to turn around and read again, savouring it now that I knew how it turned out.
A note that really caught my eye. Scanning the reviews on goodreads, someone asks about this book and says she's 180 pages in and wonders when it starts to pick up. Kate Quinn herself leaves a response: "Oh, goodness, move on! Life is too short to finish books you aren't enjoying. :) " How eloquent!
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So, do you have seasonal favourites when it comes to books?
Here's wishing you a pleasant weekend.
Top photo: Image by Brigitte from Pixabay
Second photo: Image by Innviertlerin from Pixabay