Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer Reading List?

What's on your summer reading list? This is the question I hear from friends, the question that leads into many articles on booksellers' sites, and the question that has me a little perplexed this week. Do you dive into Les Miserables by the pool, or is there more chick lit in your beach bag? What makes a good "Summer Read"?

Is a book read during the summer any different than a book read any other time of the year? Sometimes a good book is a good book, end of story. Would To Kill A Mockingbird, for example, be on your typical summer book list (outside of school reading lists) or are you more inclined to wait until a chilly November day to read it?

How about Anna Karenina? This one's going to weigh down the tote bag. I bring up this book because it's what my Book Club has decided on for our Big Summer Read. We give our meetings a break for the summer, and we will gather again in the fall to discuss it. If you have two months to read one book, I guess it should be a biggie, a classic, an epic tale. It's been about 8 years since I read Anna Karenina, and I'm looking forward to diving into it again. Maybe we should wait until the summer to open up those ten-pound novels sitting on the shelf that might just take some of us two months to read them, or two months to savor them, as the case of Anna Karenina might be. Drink it in while you're drinking margaritas by the pool? Sounds good to me!

C'mon, Alison! It's vacation! I don't want to read something that's going to make my brain hurt! Ok, ok. So, there is something to be said for a "leave your brain at the door" book. I try not to be a book snob, and have my fair share of guilty pleasures (that damn Sookie Stackhouse!). I'm sure a fair number of you out there are more inclined to read fluffier books during the summer. My sister tells me that we read fluff because we can, and we enjoy it, and dammit why shouldn't we? Life is too serious, our books should help us escape from that. Ok, I get that. So, is that what all the Best Summer Books lists are all about? Fluff?

It's not about the brain power, it's about the story! Oh, escapism. I get it now. Should the story take place during the summer in order to be included in a summer book list? The first book that comes to mind is Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. Then again, if I recall correctly, Scout ran back and forth to the courthouse during a dusty summer as well.

Once again, I find that I can not come to a conclusive decision. What are the ingredients for a good summer read?

For me, summer doesn't mean that I open up a whole new shelf of my library. I choose whatever calls out to me on any given day -- warm and sunny, or cold and breezy. Oh, and I have to say, I love reading the school's summer reading lists. I was in the library last week, and these kids are reading the best of the best. What a fun project that would be.

What is on your summer reading list? Is this list different from your winter reading list?


okbolover said...

This is a great post. I don't understand the summer/winter reading thing either. I'm guessing summer reads are "easy going stuff" ? I just choose whatever I feel like reading I don't have a summer reading book list or anything like that. Except on October, Halloween is my favorite holiday so I ready spooky stuff :)

Alison said...

Oh, now Halloween-themed books I can understand! I think I might save Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for Halloween.

Barbara said...

I don't really change my reading depending on the season. As evidence of that I've recently read books that would be more winter type books. I did read Anna Karenina quite a while ago myself. Maybe I'm an oddball but I really don't have a list of books to read. Sure there are a few series that I want to dive into but there's no actual list. I guess that's because I get my books from the library so I have to go with what I can find. Happy reading to you and maybe I'll pick up Anna Karenina again.

~Mary said...

anything by Sophi Kinsella is a PERFECT summer read.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Alison said...

Mary, I usually don't read chick-lit, but Sophie Kinsella is one of my few exceptions. I think she's hilarious! I can definitely see myself sticking any of her Shopaholic books into my beach bag!

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