Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Reading, Part II: Tuesday's Reflection

Everyone seems to announce or publish a summer reading list.
The Top Shelf
Recently, the Sunday New York Times Book Review was devoted to summer reading suggestions. Minnesota Public Radio directs us to worthy choices and in book stores tables are devoted to "beach reads." Normally, I love checking out everyone's lists in order to create my own, but this year I have decided a different strategy.

Along with enjoying mysteries discovered by whim and chance, I have decided to shop my own shelves. We own many, many books we have not yet read. Some are books Bruce has read, but I haven't yet read and want to. Plus, there are far too many I have purchased or been given in the past, which are still languishing unread on a shelf.

I have decided to do something about that. 

I chose one shelf, a top shelf of one of our bookshelves in the lower level. All fiction. Authors with last names beginning with A, B, C, and in one case, D. I have read several already on that shelf, including Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Now here is a dilemma--she has a new book, a sort of sequel to this book, and I know I want to read that, but I don't own it. Should I pretend it is on the list and order from the library? I metaphorically slap my wrist and pretend I didn't have that thought.

I have read others on the shelf by Anita Brookner and Gwendolyn Brooks and others. One of my favorite books, The Hours by Michael Cunningham, I have read more than once. 

But now it is time to consider the books I have not yet read. Those include, but are not limited to Life Class by Pat Barker, Secret Lives by E. F. Benson, Birds without Wings by Louis DeBernieres, and two by William Boyd, Any Human Heart and Restless. I have seen PBS productions of both of the Boyd books and enjoyed them immensely. 

This one shelf alone will give me hours and hours of pleasure, I am sure. 

Now, I ask myself, do I read them in order, or do I allow myself to be a bit less methodical, just as long as I stick to that shelf? What if I am attracted to another book not on the first shelf? And what about additional book purchases of which I am sure there will be some in June, July, and August? 

This is the good thing about being the age I am. I get to decide. I get to make my own guidelines (not rules), and I get to totally divert from them. I get to distract myself without fear of punishment. I don't need to write book reports or prove to a teacher in the fall that I have read the assigned books. 

I can just read. 

I have already made an addition to the Top Shelf Summer Reading List. I have decided to ask our two grandkids for a recommendation. What book do you own that you think I should read? I haven't yet consulted with Maren (age 13) about her choice for me, but when I asked Peter (age 8) he became serious and thoughtful. 

"Can I ask you a question?" he said. 

"Of course."

"Do you like cats?" he asked, waiting for my response.

"Yes," I responded easily.

"Do you like adventure books?" 

"Y..e..s..s." I answered a bit more hesitantly, knowing most of his books are in the adventure category.

He said he would get back to me. I am still waiting for his recommendation, and I can hardly wait. 

An Invitation
What summer guidelines (not rules) do you have for reading or anything else? I would love to know.

Note: To consult last year's summer reading list, click here.

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