Saturday, June 12, 2021

Summertime Reading

" 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!

* * *

So, do you have seasonal favourites when it comes to books?

Here's wishing you a pleasant weekend.

Heart Hugs,

Top photo: Image by Brigitte from Pixabay
Second photo: Image by Innviertlerin from Pixabay


  1. Summertime reading is special. Not only can you lose yourself in new characters and places far and near, but when you happen to glance up from your book you realize that right here, right now, is pretty special too. Now you have me chomping at the bit to get out in a breezy shady corner, sun speckling through leaves above my head, and with a treasure open in my lap. Here’s to many summer reading days ahead!

    1. Oh yes, glancing up from your book and realizing that right here, right now, is pretty special too. Happy reading, Joy!

  2. I don't really have seasonal favourites. My reading choices, other than the required book club selections, tend to be based on my current mood. I've even had some books a good year or more before I was in the mood to begin reading it.
    I loved reading about Kate Quinn's response to that reader on Goodreads!
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your summertime reading inclinations.

    1. I'm a lot like you, Diane, in that I tend to read based on my current moods. Which means, like you, I've often got books waiting for a year or much longer before I'm in the right mood for it. I find that there are books I have to grow up into before I'm ready to receive them. I have read books out of sync with my life and wondered what the rave was about a certain title. But pick it up years later, and I can wonder where it was all my life. // Oh yes, I so enjoyed Kate's response to her reader.

  3. PS to my post. There are just so many good books I want to add to my reading list. I need to get a job for my reading habits. Or win a small lottery to set me up for all the books I want to read. There was a season when I was willing to borrow books, but for some reason, now I feel the 'need' to own so many of them, because I want to underline and write comments in the margins, e.g., my own thoughts on a topic or memories that pop up from lines read. Librarians have always frowned on doing that in library books. What's a girl to do, eh?

  4. Maybe you need to have your very own library, Brenda....imagine, hundreds of books, and all yours! Like you, I do enjoy dipping back into books from older times. I'm re reading The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. I never tire of it.

    1. Barbara, I do have several hundred books in my 'little' library. Haha I've tried to downsize, borrow from the library more, but I think I just have to let books be queen around here. I've never read The Little White Horse, now I want to read it. I've read other of Miss Goudge's books and loved them. Some are hard to track down over here. Enjoy your summer reading. Did you make it through the Big Meetings in your area this past week?

  5. So many wonderful books I now need to read! And your thoughts about books are mine, as well. Very well put!

    Thanks for sharing your faves and hopeful faves with us. I wrote them all down. I love reading books that make me happy in the end, not disturbed. This trend these days to be entertained by disturbing and frightening fiction is confusing to me. Real life is scary enough. Must we entertain ourselves with more that is disturbing? I'm currently reading The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates. Bought the Larkin series because I loved the tv series. Definite summer reading! Happy Saturday, Brenda!

    1. Kim, Both the Darling Buds of May and the Larkin series are perfect summer reads. See, I have something else to add to my reading list. Thanks for stopping in, Kim!

  6. I must confess that I’ve not read any of the books you mention, though I have read a couple of Louise Penny’s. My reading interests have changed a bit over the years, though I still enjoy rereading Rosamunde Pilcher and, of course, Susan Branch. I remember the summer days of my childhood spent in the shade of the large oak tree in the back yard reading a book, one of the ways I was able to stay cool. Wishing you happy days ahead with your reading!

  7. Like you, I'm waiting for the new Louise Penny book - so wonderful to visit Three Pines no matter what season we're in! Another WW2 book you might enjoy is Elinor Florence's Bird's Eye View, about the women who were responsible for aerial photo interpretation in the RAF/RCAF - a good well-researched novel by a Canadian writer. On my own current stack of books (usually with three or four underway at one time) is Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker (re-reading this series); The Grey King (the 4th of The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper) -young adult book; Reynard the Fox, by Anne Louise Avery; and yes, Sarah Clarkson's new book too. We do have our own library here - "Books are my one weakness" ;)

  8. Ditto for Louise Penny. I am waiting for The Rose Code. I have been working through all my cupboards and drawers during the Pandemic. I think that summer might be time for the book boxes. I've got a lot of Elizabeth von Arnim, Katherine Mansfield and Jean Rhys titles that I think were published by Virago. A British trip? May Sarton and Madeline L'Engle. East coast? Summer reading can replace travel. I agree that it is essential for me to care about the characters in a book to enjoy reading it.

  9. Good morning, Brenda. Since I have taken a break from my blog, I am enjoying my stack of books that have been waiting for me. Currently, I am reading "Lisette's List," by Susan Vreeland. This is an outstanding book set in a small village in Provence during WWII. I am almost finished and would highly recommend the book. It really makes one pause and ponder many things, to be extremely grateful for our lives and to seek beauty.

  10. I have enjoyed several of Kate's books. I love the quote she shared on Goodreads. ;-)

  11. I love summer reading as well. Summer gives you permission to be lazy and read a little bit longer, even with that pile of dishes in the sink. I love seeing what other people read and found so many old favorites here - Gamache, Anne Shirley, the April ladies and, of course, Miss Marple. I'm currently reading Sophie Green's The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle and so far enjoying it very much.

  12. Such a delight and inspiration! I found myself nodding 'me too' as I read your thoughts on reading and I realize that I have something to look forward to when the season of life I am in slows a bit. A person who loves reading always has something delightful to look forward to! I esp. relate to this line; 'I like stories that remind me that the world is still beautiful, even in the midst of the haunting hard and terrible things.' Me too!

  13. We read so many of the same books! Although I don't think I read as much of contemporary works as you do. Louise Penny is always a favorite though and Susan Branch is who I turned to for rereads during a low period this spring. But when I started getting back out again this spring, post-vaccination, I found so many good old books at my favorite old books dealer at our local antique stores that I've had stacks to choose from, as delirious at the thought as a child at a candy store. Thank goodness for books!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo