The Joys of Summer Reading

Spring has sprung/The grass has riz/I wonder where/The nearest bookstore is . . . Every spring, as the snow begins to melt and the trees begin to bud, I become impatient for sunny summer mornings spent taking in the view from my balcony while I fuss over the brightly coloured blooms in the window boxes , sip steaming hot cafe-au-lait from a mug the size of a washbasin, and get my nose into a book.

 I love the freedom of “summer reading.” Even the phrase suggests fun and and a certain degree of frivolity. With the first hint of summer the meaningful literature and scholarly tomes get pushed to the back of the shelf and out come the fun books: spy thrillers and detective novels, otherworld fantasies, works of horror and science fiction, all peppered with a healthy dose of breathy romances with dubious historical settings. Come summer and sunshine I want to be entertained.

 When my children were much younger I would visit the local bookstore on the first weekend of summer holidays every year, haul out the trusty Visa, and purchase a copy of each of the top ten best sellers. July and August would then be spent blissfully reading my way up from Number 10 to Number 1 between the summertime Mom activities of threading marshmallows on toasting sticks, arranging search parties for missing frogs and putting bandages on scraped knees. And, oh the joy of settling down by lantern light with a good piece of pulp fiction after all the little campers were safely zipped into their sleeping bags for the night!

Most writers of my acquaintance spend almost as much time reading as they do writing. Books, after all, are what got us here in the first place. Samuel Johnson (British author, 1709-1784) is reported to have said, ” The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading. In order to write, a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” Almost every horizontal surface in my home has reading material of some sort on it. My grandmother used to say that when I ran out of books to read I would pull boxes and packages out of the kitchen cupboards to read the labels. Today I carry a paperback with me everywhere I go, because you never know when you may have just a minute or two to read.

So, if we happen to run across one another some time this summer, just sitting back and watching the water lap against the river’s edge at The Forks, or standing in line at the BDI waiting to order a pineapple upside-down . . . I’ll be the one with the book .

Mela Foxallen

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2 Responses to “The Joys of Summer Reading”

  1. Hilary says:

    Ha! I just finished my Christmas reading – I was determined to get through the four books I got as gifts before I moved on to anything else – and now I’m free to get on to a new book list.
    I’m thinking of picking up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and some Walt Whitman.
    What are you planning on reading this summer?

  2. Mela says:

    I have just started “Echo in the Bone” by Diana Gabaldon which is the last in the ongoing “Outlander” series. My brother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas, so I guess I am catching up on my Christmas reading as well. Someone got me started on these when they first came out and they are addictive!

    I have had this itch to re-read the John. D. MacDonald “Travis McGee” series–I have a long-standing crush on McGee’s pick-up truck “Miss Agnes” and have always secretly wanted to live on a boat–perfect summer reading.

    Have also been thinking of re-starting my long standing Biography Project. I started this when I was about 16 or 17 and every time I begin again it takes me about 2 years to complete–it starts with a visit to the Biography section at the library. I start at the beginning of the alphabet. I comb the “A”s until someone jumps out at me. Read the “A” biography/autobiography, return the book then do the same thing with the “B”s and work my way through to the end of the alphabet. As I noted earlier, every time I start it takes about 2 years to complete a cycle.

    Other than that, come summer, the sky’s the limit! If it catches my eyes or strikes my fancy, I will read it and anyone who raises an eyebrow will be gently reminded that it is summer and summer is nature’s way of ensuring the paperback publishers stay in business!

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