The thermometer tells us it's 100 degrees today, (thank you, Mercury, god of thermometers).
The cat is conked out on her back in the shade, too tired to harass the birds. I'm listening to my heatstroke playlist. That's the one that starts with the Beachboy's Kokomo, ("Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take ya to …") and shimmies on to the Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the City, ("Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the City").
Summer is upon us.
So let me ask, "What books would you take to the beach this summer? Old friends? New discoveries?"
There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs.
Henry Ward Beecher
Here in the South we know all about the heat index creeping stealthily up toward the triple digits. We've raised 'doing nothing' to a graceful art form. It's an art practiced by the swimming pool or a big 'ole lake, or at least in company with a hose spraying around the backyard. Bonus points for the lifestyle include barbecued ribs and cold Mountain Dew. And beer.
For me, any day of the simmering summer is incomplete without a book in the bag. Or a couple books, since you never know exactly how the spirit will move you. Summer reading needs the background noise of kids running around barefoot and yelling about nothing at all. It needs a shady porch or umbrella and maybe a dragonfly hovering just off the port side of the hammock.
I'll tuck an old friend in the straw bag — Kai-Lung's Golden Hours by Ernest Bramah. There's a funny, clever, dreamy, irrationality to it that suits hot weather and lying by the pool. I own it in paperback, but it's free on e-readers, being out of copyright an' all.
(Go ahead and click on any of these book names for more information 'bout the book.)
Jennifer Crusie always picks me up. Funny, funny woman. I haven't had a chance to read, Tell Me Lies yet, and I'm looking forward to it. Susan Elizabeth Phillips has a new book out in July — The Great Escape: A Novel. I might top those two off with rum and coke and Grace Burrowes' most recent book, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal.
Mary Jo Putney says:
I am a Reader for All Seasons, and certainly can’t evoke languid summer reading times as well as Joanna can. (The dragonfly is a nice touch. <G>)
But a favorite I just reread fits the summer reading theme: White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz. The book is one of her Arcane Society romantic suspense novels, and it’s set in blazing summer heat in Arizona as the heroine, Clare Lancaster, becomes involved with murder, mayhem, and a hot alpha hunter named Jake. I like the characters and the plot—Clare is a human lie detector, which gives her an unusual philosophy of life. And I like the JAK banter.
I also like the way the book makes a reader feel the Arizona heat. The burning steering wheels and the blasts of air conditioning when entering a building. The deliciousness of a desert night, with softly slinking coyotes and giant stars on a dark velvet sky. The crunch of bruschetta and the cool wine that follows. Perfect summer reading if one is lounging on a shaded patio.
But in general, any good story will do, summer or winter!
(Teacup attrib merdeglace, girl with hose attrib clapstar, bookshelves charliebrewer)
There is a saying that summer in the UK consists of three hot days and then a thunderstorm, but this year it’s been so cool and damp we’ve barely had three hot days in a row and not much in the way of humidity. So when my thoughts turn to summer reads they tend provoke ideas of pale sandy beaches and cool breezes off the sea and me sitting behind a wind break as I try to read, cradling a cup of tea from the flask to warm me up!
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to reading The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick. It sounds wonderfully evocative of the county, its coastline, its history and its atmosphere. I love holidays in Cornwall and one of my all time favourite books is Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier, which evokes the spirit of time and place in Cornwall so beautifully. I was even lucky enough to stay in Daphne Du Maurier's house at Frenchman's Creek one year and I could feel the ghosts all around me.
Which brings me neatly to my other hotly anticipated summer read. This is The Silent Touch of Shadows by HWW Christina Courtenay, a time slip book set in the present and the 15th century. I love time travel books and can never find enough of them to read. There's a pdf file with an extract from the here. It's out in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to pick it up!
Andrea Pickens brings us a couple few interesting suggestions, including our only hit on nonfiction:
Jo Beverley points out:
I've never understood the concept of summer reads. To many it seems to mean a time when they're allowed to goof off and read the books they actually enjoy instead of the ought-to tomes. Come on now, break free and read for pleasure all year long!
Next, I'm not sure people have the most reading time in summer. Why should that be? Surely many people spend their summer holidays places they enjoy, not escaping to somewhere else in fiction. Now a long winter evening — that sounds like good reading time!
And we round it off with suggestions from Anne Gracie:
But summer heat or winter chills, as far as I'm concerned it's always time for a good book.
Is summer your time for light reading and a lot of it? Are you expecting to get much reading done over the next few weeks?