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Glorious Summer Reading

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Sun-bathing Girls in Brittany by Moric Goth via Wikimedia Commons

Sun-bathing Girls in Brittany by Moric Goth via Wikimedia Commons

What makes summer such a great time for reading?  Leading up to summer, even the most trivial magazines and talk shows have a column or segment on “Great Summer Reads” or “Fun Beach Reads.”  As children, we’re all given a handful of books to read over the summer, some more interesting than others.

There are so many other vacation seasons during the year, but for some reason, summer wins as a time to read.  Perhaps it’s because the warm, lazy days lend themselves to sitting in a lounge chair on the beach with a fun read propped up next to a yummy drink under a sun shade.  Perhaps it’s because summertime, as a child, was so carefree that we long to bring that time into adulthood, even through just a few hours reading something escapist.

Something about summer is a little bit magical.  The books you read in summer, on vacation, when it’s warm, seem somehow a little more than they would otherwise.  As a kid, I went to Girl Scout camp in the summers, and my camp had a library of sorts, really just a collection of book crates.  At age 9, I was already in love with books, but I had never read any classics.  In our camp library, I ran across a copy of Little Women (it was an abridged version – I was pretty young, after all).  I devoured that book; I fell in love with Jo and all her sisters, and it ignited in me a desire to read more books that weren’t just about other elementary-age kids.

Which books have been your favorite summer reads?  What do you think makes summer such a great time to read?

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About Christi

Writing in SoCal.

17 responses

  1. My favorite book so far this summer is probably ‘Phantom’ by Jo Nesbo. He’s a Norwegian author who writes the Harry Hole detective series. Dark but intense and suspenseful. I’ve also read some good Indie books by my fellow bloggers (Dianne Gray, Kourtney Heintz, Mark Paxson). I’ve just picked up JK Rowling’s new one, the one she published under a pseudonym and sold less than 500 copies of. Until her name got attached to it, that is…

    • I picked up JKR’s new book just as the craziness was unfolding, too, in hopes that I might get a limited edition copy that just said “Robert Galbraith.” No such luck — the one I got had JKR’s info inside the back cover. It may literally have been hot off the presses.

  2. This is a bit trashy, but i have great memories of reading the Outlander books (Diana Gabaldon) one summer at my mother’s house on Cape Cod. They were such romantic, adventurous fun that I’d stay up til two or three in the morning furiously turning the pages.

    Last summer, it was the YA novel The Summer of Skinny Dipping, which really captured those days of my youth, spending summer by the beach.

    Why is summer so magical? To me it feels like freedom! Time to do what you love most (writing, painting, swimming in the ocean), friends and family around, long days lasting into the night, windows and doors wide open, going barefoot, jumping on your bike. And all of nature going crazy – flowers, animals, birds. Life just seems so easy – like in the song Summertime. For me, that’s where the magic comes from.

    • Summer does feel like freedom! I miss the magical days of summer of years past.

      I’ve never read the Outlander books, but so many people have talked about them that I may have to pick up the first one.

  3. I don’t have anything specific for summer. I just read what I find in my basement of old books. I’ve found my share of duds but I push on.I am a huge fan of Harlan Ellison and Kurt Vonnegut.

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  5. I’m a YA fan and had gotten used to reading the latest Lorien Series (I Am Number 4) by Pittacus Lore every summer at the beach, but was bummed I couldn’t get the newest one this summer. Got a great genetic engineering fiction story instead!

  6. I can’t think of anything I would specifically read only in the summer, but I agree that I equate reading with freedom. 🙂 When I was a kid, I would ride my bike to the library and during the summer months I was able to get multiple books and finish them all. As an adult, some of my favorite vacation (during winter) were to go to a “tropical” resort and sit on the beach or by the pool and feel like it was okay just to read all day!

  7. One of my favorite summer books is THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY, a young adult novel by Jenny Han. But I wouldn’t call it a fluffy beach read. Han mentions some difficult issues. And she is a stellar writer. I also love THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

    • Books by stellar writers are always the best kind, though I definitely have to be in the mood to read “difficult” books. I’ve never read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, but the title already sounds fun!

  8. Hello. Thank you for stopping by my blog, I appreciate it. I am enjoying yours, and I will be definitely be back for more!

    I too equate summer with the freedom to read what I wanted and as long as wanted as a child / teen, and bike rides to the public library to stock up for the week.

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