My daughter and I are just finishing up my favorite Little House book, The Long Winter. For those who haven’t read it, or have but don’t remember, part of that story is the Ingalls family basically skips Christmas. They do what they can, but they basically skip it because the trains have stopped running and there’s no hunting and they’re having to start rationing their food. However, a few weeks prior, Pa had gotten the mail and in the mail, Ma and the girls received magazines and newsletters. Stuff to read. And, knowing that having a substantial Christmas was not going to happen that year, Ma decided that she and the girls would save their new-to-them readings for Christmas day. As a present to themselves.
A) that is some major self-control and B) some of my favorite gifts are books. So, good thinking, Ma.
Books are so important to me, and I literally cannot remember a point in my life when I couldn’t read or had 2-5 books on my nightstand and another 234908 in my library queue, and now on my Amazon wishlist, too. My bookshelf is filled with books I’ll get to eventually. When I travel, packing books is as essential as packing toothpaste and underwear (maybe at one point I’ve forgotten toothpaste and/or underwear but never a book so maybe books are more essential). Some of my favorite summer memories are the rainy days at sleepaway camp when I would lay on my bed and read (and talk to my friends and nap and play jacks, too. But mostly read). Because summers are great for reading. I mean, all seasons are great for reading, but there’s just something about summer that makes reading that much better. Maybe because there are so many more places for reading–the beach, the pool, inside, a deck chair…so many more options.
I never really had a rhyme or reason for how I picked books. I would browse bookstores or stick with authors I already knew. But a couple of years ago, I started paying attention to the lists from Huffington Post books, my friends’ Goodreads lists, Amazon recommended books and I discovered books I ordinarily would not have. It’s how I found Gone Girl, The Sisters Brothers, Reconstructing Amelia, and The Fault in Our Stars. All 4 of those are books I highly recommend if you haven’t read them already.
This summer, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. I have put together my own summer reading list. I never had this from school and in the past, I would just read whatever would come up from my library queue. But this year, I decided I would create a targeted reading list and that list would be a combination of nonfiction books (memoir and self-help/informational type books) and fiction books. I like having a balance, and I usually read one fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. Doing so feeds both parts of my brain.
Does that sound weird? Probably. That’s okay.
- Things We Set on Fire by Deborah Reed (pictured)
- To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris (pictured)
- All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (not pictured)
- The Vacationers by Emma Straub (not pictured)
- Golden State by Michelle Richmond (not pictured)
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (pictured)
- On Writing by Stephen King (pictured)
- Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott (pictured)
- The Economy of You by Kimberly Palmer (not pictured)
- The 7 Habit of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey (pictured. Also, my daughter’s school teaches these habits so I figured it would be good to read what she’s learning)
- Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim (not pictured, and from my pioneer reading list)
- Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm by Mardi Jo Link (not pictured, and also on my pioneer reading list)
- The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (not pictured)
The only wrinkle in my very carefully planned reading list is the library not cooperating. I do have a few backup books in the event that happens.
My list has 13 books on it. Not too unreasonable, I think. I usually average about 1-2 books per week, depending on the books. We’ll see what happens. At least there won’t be a test at the end.
So that’s good.
Do you have a summer reading list? What books are you planning on reading?