Reading My Summer

August 26, 2009 @ 7:45 pm | Filed under: Books

I was looking at my reading log for the past three months and laughing at how aptly it characterizes our summer.

June: Regular activities wind down; we’re home for long, lazy days, hanging out in the backyard, enjoying the sunny evenings. I read nine books.

July: Whoosh! How’d we get so busy? Every day’s a new adventure. Comic-Con munches up a solid week. I read (to completion) one, count it—one, book. Bits and pieces of many others, but from beginning to end? A single book: an old favorite, savored slowly, a page and sometimes only a paragraph at a time, late at night, when the heavy hush has settled at last upon the house.

August: Our summer activities have settled into a routine, streamlined, efficient. Dentist appointments figure prominently in the calendar. This means waiting rooms. The baby is suddenly old enough to sit and play, allowing hands-free time for creative pursuits such as watercolor journaling and sewing. I read five books.

Of course, August isn’t over yet, and it goes out with a weekend. This means there’s a strong possibility I’ll find time for one more book. I’m about a third of the way into Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul and grateful to Mental Multivitamin for the recommendation. The library will be wanting it back soon, so I’ll have to pick up my pace. Delightful so far. In bed at night, after lights-out, I’m enjoying a Wodehouse novel via e-reader. (The iPod Touch has really become my preferred vehicle for bedtime reading, for all the reasons I mentioned in this post. It’s the easiest, least obtrusive way to read next to a sleeping baby without disturbing him. During daylight hours, however, I will always and ever [she declares with confidence] prefer a Real Book.)


The fiction to-be-read stack is as deliciously high as always. I continue to salivate over too many intriguing novels and squander precious could-be-reading moments failing to make a choice already. But also I wanted a few days to savor the novel I finished earlier this week: Lost by Jacqueline Davies, a spellbinding account of—well, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, sort of, but really that’s a backdrop to an achingly moving tale of loss and grief, from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old Jewish girl (whose narrative voice may be my favorite of the year so far) who works in the factory. I’d like to write more about this book in a proper post, later, but right now I’m still too wrapped up in the raw emotions of the story to be able to review it matter-of-factly.

So what comes after Lost, what novel will ring out summer? I can’t say.


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Comments

6 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. If I miss one thing it is having time to read, between the kids, hubby, garden and farm. I can’t seem to find a decent chunk of time to read. Besides devotions I haven’t read a full book, in a decent amount of time in years…maybe I need to change that. Kim

  2. thanks for the recommendations! have added them to my pile. i especially appreciated the list of boy books from a previous post.

  3. All three of us loved “Of a Feather.” Smooth, readable prose about a subject we love. My husband finished it in a weekend (which also included an early morning of helping at a bird-banding station!) Glad to hear you are enjoying it, too.

  4. I’ll add LOST to my list. Try “A Good Indian Wife”–fabulous! It’s been called an “Indian Jane Austen” or like that….

  5. Melissa, the book by Davies sounds very good — thank you for posting about it. I’m acquainted with the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire only through Robert Pinsky’s poem “Shirt.” You may know it already, but if not, I encourage you to google it (it’s on various websites). Truly an amazing poem, and might be a good accompaniment to the novel…

  6. [...] The other day I mentioned a book that was ghosting in the corners of my mind: I wanted a few days to savor the novel I finished earlier this week: Lost by Jacqueline Davies, a spellbinding account of—well, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, sort of, but really that’s a backdrop to an achingly moving tale of loss and grief, from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old Jewish girl (whose narrative voice may be my favorite of the year so far) who works in the factory. [...]