Sunday, June 03, 2012

Reading My Way Through Summer

Ugh. Summer. I just do not see the appeal. At least not to those of us for whom the rat-race does not slow down June through August, or who don't have swimming pools right outside our doors or beachfront homes in the Hamptons. So I have to come up with something that makes all the humidity-drenched hair, sticky clothes, and nose-melting street odors bearable until the crisp, fresh winds of October blow all the yuck away.

My plan involves some sort of summer reading program. Through books, I can escape the heat and humidity and take virtual vacations that my pocketbook would not allow me to do otherwise. Plus, it's a throw-back to those lazy-hazy-crazy days of childhood summers, when I worked my way through the public library's summer reading list, ticking off my three biographies, four fictions, four non-fictions, thanks to the trusty bookmobile.

Last summer, I only read New York City-themed books. A couple of years ago, it was books by Southern authors with Southern settings. This year, I'm breaking away from geographically-based program, though it would've been so easy to opt for England in this Jubilee year. No, instead, I've decided to push myself beyond easily-read mysteries and historical novels. I've been a lazy reader of late, and I must move to more substantive material. Yeah, that goes against the summer-ready grain of pot-boilers and bodice-rippers, but my brain will turn to mush otherwise.

Discipline. Reading discipline is this year's summer reading theme. I'm harking back to the old-school summer reading requirements (on my own terms, of course): two biographies, two critically-acclaimed fictions (no airy-fairy stuff), two non-fictions, two books about theology/religion, one self-help. Once I tick those off, I can read any sleazy show-biz biography or free Kindle vanity-press thing I want.

Whether I prop up a real, old-fashioned hardback tome, listen to the book on my iPod, or have it delivered to Kindle, I expect my list to broaden my horizons and keep me cool (figuratively, if not literally) at the same time. And while I've already chosen about half the books that meet my worthy goal, I'm always open to suggestions, so jump in if you have something to recommend.

Now all I need is someone who'll give me a fancy certificate and Baskin-Robbins gift card when I successfully complete my summer reading program. That might make the heat bearable.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Oh no, I don't do serious literature any more. Especially not in summer. Or in winter.
However I do have a book on my desk that I've been planning to read for about 2 years. Called Jesus for President. And now I'm looking for it I can't find it, of course. It was quite a must-read about 4 years ago in my church circles. Shane Claiborne (just Amazoned it). Supposed to be a challenging read.