Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Five: Summer Reading

Songbird has brought up a good Friday Five this week. She says:

“Back in the day, before I went to seminary, I worked in the Children's Room at the Public Library, and every year we geared up for Summer Reading. Children would come in and record the books read over the summer, and the season included numerous special and celebratory events. As a lifelong book lover and enthusiastic summer reader, I find I still accumulate a pile of books for the summer.”

This week, then, a Summer Reading Friday Five.

1) Do you think of summer as a particularly good season for reading? Why or why not?

Summer is a wonderful time to read—but of course, almost any time is a good time to read. I always have two or three books going at once. I never have time on my hands—I always have a book handy. But we have a wonderful second floor screened-in porch at our apartment. We can sit there in the cool breeze and feel like we are in a tree house. We can sit there well into the night because the light is pretty good there and listen to all the birds, squirrels, tree frogs or even the buzzing of the bugs. I would do my blogging there except that it is often too bright for the screen.

Also my idea of the great summer vacation is to go to a cabin in the woods and read. A cool drink, a book and chaise chair is all I need to make me happy. So yes, summer is a time when I can catch up on my reading. It is also a time when I don’t feel guilty about reading novels and for-fun books. I think that feeling of “wasting time” while reading comes from my mother who never read much and therefore thought that I was wasting time reading. It was only after college that I really began to enjoy reading for the mental exercise it gives.

It doesn’t matter what kind of reading it is—professional, non-fiction, fiction, magazines. It all feeds the mind with stuff that sermons are made of, teaching is made of, general conversation is made of. My vocabulary grows; my awareness of the world grows. I become more of a person as I read.

2) Have you ever fallen asleep reading on the beach?

I cannot afford to. I really don’t like the beach and I burn VERY easily. Also the bright light, even with sunglasses on make it very hard to read. I will sit on a deck and look at a lake or river while reading. And I have been known to fall asleep there on a chaise enjoying the out of doors but usually in the shade.

3) Can you recall a favorite childhood book read in the summertime?

My favorite book growing up was Misty of Chincoteague. I would read it over and over. I longed to be one of the Beebe children so I could have a pony like Misty. In my fifties I finally visited Chincoteague and Assateague islands and saw the ponies who still wander at will through the park. It brought all those stories back.

4) Do you have a favorite genre for light or relaxing reading?

I am a glutton for mysteries. I haunt Barnes and Noble for new authors all the time. My favorite mystery writer besides the classics Josephine Tey and Dorothy Sayers, is Laurie King. Her husband was a member of my parish when I was in CA. She writes the most complex and gripping stories without them being gory.

5) What is the next book on your reading list?

I am presently reading one of Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective series: The Good Husband of Zebra Drive. I love the way he can write believable books about women’s intuition. I am also reading Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity for the Rest of Us. Because I read so slowly, it takes me a long time to get through a single book, but I am also reading several books at a time. So it takes even longer for me to wade through books.

I think I want to read Bass’ The Practicing Church? I am not sure that is the name of it but it is something like that. I will look for some more mysteries—especially a Sister Fidelma mystery to take on vacation with me in August.

Commentators, do you have any suggestions for summer books?


Di said...

Yes! Josephine Tey-- I read her in college, loved it!

Unknown said...

Oh, Josephine Tey! This might be a good summer to re-read Daughter of Time. I love that book.

Barbara B. said...

Your second floor screened-in porch sounds AWESOME for reading!!

Diane M. Roth said...

Yes, I loved the Daughter of Time as well. And I've always wanted to read some Laurie King; do you have any suggestions about where to start?

(she was at a writing conference I went to long ago.)

LutheranChik said...

I heart that cabin in the photo!

And thanks for the books recommendations.

Sally said...

I love the sound of that porch too- what a wonderful place to read :-)

Jan said...

I used to love reading Dorothy Sayers' mysteries. Do you like P.D. James? I do.

After I went to Zambia two years ago, I started reading the No. 1 Detective Agency books. I especially enjoyed them because the touches of Africa were so authentic.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, M+, for ranking me anywhere in the vicinity of Tey and Sayers.

Happy reading this summer. And if you like the Ladies Detective series, you might enjoy Colin Cotteril's books, deliciously funny while being insightful.

Laurie King

Processing Counselor said...

Laurie King is one of my favorites, too! Wow, I just notices she wrote to you! I met her at a book signing in NY. Very unasuming