Summer Reading: Again

We received the annual summer reading email.  This year my son only has to read ONE book from the list (an opposed to two of the previous years) and I have to admit that some of them I want to read!  He'd already read one previously for a summer read (and I'd read it too) and one I had read last year, The Hate You Give, and it made my best reads of the year. (  

But all of this brings me back to MY summer days of reading.  Back when summer reading wasn't REQUIRED (at least it wasn't until I was entering my junior year of HS when I took a 2 year AP English course; one of the best courses I've EVER TAKEN).  But summer reading was what I did.  Because summer meant reading...  And I know I'm not the only one who feels that way (shout out to our Middle School Media Specialist and her great post:

The summers of my youth are long gone, but my memories of summer books are still strong.  I wrote about it just last year:  While I have nothing against "required books" to read, I also think that a "fun" book on the beach or on the porch are an important part of summer life.  With that said, I'd like to talk about MY summer books:  Books that I read over the summer and have stayed with me.  Books that when I think of them, take me back to an exact place and time.  Some of them are YA and some are adult.  For good or bad, I've loved them all.

  • The Mystery of the 99 Steps by Carolyn Keene:  I am a Nancy Drew girl through and through.  I read most of them during the summer.  I remember this one being a birthday present.  You can't go wrong with Nancy Drew and I like to indulge myself and re-read one (or more).  Summer is the perfect time to do it.  Of course, if you or your child hasn't read any Nancy Drew, the best place to start in the beginning:  The Mystery of the Old Clock.  Get hooked and move through the original series.
  • In Summertime It's Tuffy by Judie Angell:  I never went to summer camp.  Reading this gave me insight (and the realization that I wouldn't like camp).  I can still remember where I purchased this book.  (I can't remember the NAME of the little book store; it might have been The Book Nook, but I DO remember where it was. The little house still stands and now is a summer rental property.)  A good book for a reader between the ages of 9 and 12.
  • Morning Is a Long Time Coming by Bette Green:  I'm not sure if I read Summer of My German Soldier before or after the television movie with Kristy McNichol and I loved both.  So much so that I checked this book (a sequel of sorts), out of my school library for summer reading.  I didn't take me long to finish it (maybe a day or two at most).  Both are worth a read, especially for a tween/teen girl.
  • Flowers in the Attic/Petals on the Wind by V.C. Andrews:  Total trash, but oh so addicting! Pure soap opera on the page!  I can remember lying on the sofa of the back porch of a house my family rented for the month of July and plowing through one and then moving right onto the other.
  • The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann:  Total smut, but oh so addictive!  Published before I was born, it is perhaps why I always associate the 1960s with summer. 
  • Misery by Stephen King:  This man is THE storyteller for our age.  While I don't like some of his stuff (and I am negligent on reading several of his novels), everyone should read something by Stephen King sometime in their life.  His books can be hard to put down and for me, this was the one that I raced through.  Not because I wanted to, but because I HAD to.  Was there some unknown force pushing me to keep going and going?  I'm not certain, but I know I finished it while lying on my stomach in the bedroom that I shared with my brother one summer; and I didn't go to the beach until I finished it.
  • Killer Pancake by Diane Mott Davidson:  A friend gave me this and The Main Corpse as a gift.  I read both over a summer vacation in 1997.  They were both captivating and I eventually went back to the beginning of the series starting with Catering to Nobody.  While the books don't have to be read in order; they SHOULD.  I am still hoping for more from this author, but her last, The Whole Enchilada was published over 5 years ago. 
  • Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank:  I bought this at a local used/independent book store that I am thrilled to say still exists.  While I always enjoy my annual summer book from Dorothea Benton Frank (and there IS always a book from her every summer), this was her first one and I think it's her best.  While most of her books are set in the south, parts are always from my neck of the woods (one of her books, forgive me for not recalling off the top of my head which one, mentions a now gone landmark, Pal's Cabin).  
  • Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult:  Given to me prior to surgery this began my love with Picoult's writing. Her stories are compelling and draw you in.  She opens the door for dialogue without being preachy.  This book took my breath away
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls:  I don't know what I was expecting from this memoir.  I'm not even sure why I picked this up.  But I do recall sitting in a beach chair, toes digging in the sand and the sound of the ocean close by, but so far away as I was gripped into this "story" that wasn't fiction.  This was reality; not mine, but Jeanette's.  It was true and harsh, but also full of love.  

Although summer hasn't officially started, I am looking forward to a great season of sun, surf and good reading.  I'm currently enjoying The Library Book by Susan Orleans and have Mary Kay Andrews' Sunset Beach and Dorothea Benton Frank's Queen Bee in my queue.  I'm also anxious to read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Editor by Steven Rowley  And although I've got a list of 40+ books on my Goodreads list, I'm always ready to add more.  Suggestions?

Here's to a great summer full of great reads!


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