Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Reading

Forty-eight hours into her summer my teenage daughter is tan, infinitely more relaxed than she was during her previous “exams” week, and has finished two books.

Wait. Two books? Why is she still doing homework?

Ah, now I remember. It’s not homework. It’s summer reading.

There is nothing more idyllic than summer reading. It’s not required by a teacher, there’s no test at the end, and the list is endless, random and completely one’s own. You never, never hold a pencil in your hand during a Summer Read … strictly verboten … because there’s no need to mark the text for notes or papers. Just let it all stream in and carry you off ….

My favorite place to Summer Read: a hammock. Definitely. And my favorite hammock in the world is on Hodgdon Pond, on Mt. Desert Island, in Maine, a secluded spot right near Acadia National Park. Loons drift by on the water, great blue herons swoop overhead, and there’s a regular symphony of frogs. I know some people like to read at the beach, but for me it’s too hot and the sound of the ocean puts me right to sleep. The beach is actually my favorite napping place in the world …

My favorite drink while I’m Summer Reading: raspberry lemonade.

My favorite time to Summer Read: anytime. All the time. But if you’re in a hammock, in Maine, you want to come in by 4:00 because otherwise the mosquitoes will eat you alive. I believe the mosquito is the State Bird of Maine, isn’t it?

What’s on my Summer Reading List: wow. Where do I begin?

In terms of “adult” books, I just got hold of a copy of Bad Girls Go Everywhere, a biography of Helen Gurley Brown written by Bowdoin College Professor Janet Scanlon. I just ordered Authentic Patriotism, written by a college friend, Stephen Kiernan, (we were in the same creative writing class!) and is a collection of stories about Americans who are contributing to their communities in significant ways. As for fiction, Tinkers by Paul Harding is on my list.

Of course, I always have a tall stack of Young Adult and Middle Grade novels I want to read! My friend Charlotte Agell has a new book called The Accidental Adventures of India MacAllister; fellow Brunswick writer Cindy Lord will soon have her next novel, Touch Blue, on shelves; Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is in the stack; as is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead; and Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles.

I was thrilled to learn that teachers and students at the James F. Doughty School in Bangor, Maine, have included my novel Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress as part of their summer reading/blogging project! It’s been fun to visit their blog and read what they think of Brett, and how they connect it to other books. Plus, it’s so amazing to think that Brett, Mr. Beady, Nonna and the rest of the crew are part of their summer!

The summer’s young, and my list could be longer … any suggestions of what I might add?

1 comment:

  1. Good choices! My favorite of your stack is Rebecca Stead's WHEN YOU REACH ME. I'm nearly finished with COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles and GREEN WITCH by Alice Hoffman--a fast and lyrical read! Otherwise, I'm reading old classics and something so embarrassingly huge (non-fiction)that I can't mention it without blushing.

    But I will now add your book to my list, BRETT McCarthy:Work in Progress.