Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Reading Bookbag


We’re fast approaching the time of year when we pack our suitcases and carryon bags and travel to our favorite vacation spots. Whether we’re cruising to exotic locales, pitching a tent by a mountain stream or loading up the station wagon for a family reunion, we’re all focused on the same objective: to escape from life’s worries and stresses, if only for a short time.  And books fill the bill soooo well.
I recently returned from a sun-filled, sand-between-the-toes kind of getaway.  In the six days we were gone, I achieved that objective. Ahhh.  In that time, I finished two books and started two more. 

The first book was The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I found this classic at Target for $2.99. It was so different from my normal type of read - a rakish rogue saves innocents from the guillotine in the nick of time, with style and the love of a beautiful lady. I decided to save it for vacation.  (For awhile, I fought the impulse to read ‘P-P-P-Pumpernickel’ instead of ‘Pimpernel,’ thanks to Daffy Duck’s telling of the tale.) The book was a page turner and I will probably watch the movie (Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon) if it ever comes to Netflicks.  This story was the perfect escape, but I’m a sucker for characters like Robin Hood and Zorro.

From plot-driven to character-driven, the second book couldn’t have been more different: Sense and Sensibility.  I enjoyed this one, but Jane (Austen) made me work for it.  It’s amazing how much action she can create in her stories when you consider the lifestyle of her characters. Basically, their options for activity are walking in the lanes and fields, working needlepoint, visiting with neighbors, reading aloud and occasionally going to dances. But their futures are at stake, and she uses these largely sedentary activities to create tension between characters through dialogue, misinterpretation, expectations and misunderstanding.  I’ll admit, I did skim a teensy bit, but I was anxious to find out who the sisters ended up with.

Vacations give you permission to read something out of the norm.  To read a book in a flash, because you can.  With nothing pressing on the horizon, no job to interfere, no responsibilities to break up the flow, you can completely immerse yourself in the time period or the story world or the chain of events that make for great stories.

What books are in your summer reading carryon or loaded on your Kindle?  Do vacations give you ‘permission’ to change-up your reading choices? We’d love to hear.

12 comments:

Josey Bozzo said...

No I don't necessarily wait till summer to change up my reading. I like to mix it up all the time. My reading interests are all over the board, including children's books/novels because of my job as librarian in a school.
But, the one thing I have done for the past couple of summers is read a classic. For awhile I chose only Jane Austen, but last summer I read Wuthering Heights (see other comment, lol) Not sure what my choice will be this year. I tried to hold off on The Great Gatsby till summer, but just couldn't do it.
Not sure what this summer's pick will be.

wanderer said...

I like to mix up my reading too, mostly between young adult, classics, nonfiction, and women's fiction. Unfortunately, after finishing Patti's perfectly lovely Goodness and Mercy last night, I'm afraid my next book will find it hard to measure up.

The Princess Bride is on the list, plus Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Josey, I just read 'The Great Gatsby', too. It was our book club's choice this time so we could see the movie together next week. Amazingly, I never had to read it in high school. I like to add a classic to the to-be-read pile once in awhile, too.
Wanderer, I agree with you. Patti's books are hard to beat. 'The Princess Bride' is a good choice because it is so different it won't compete.

Sharon K Souza said...

I've definitely mixed it up more since starting my book club a few years ago. It's nice to read the novels that the other women suggest, because many of the ones we've read wouldn't have been on my list. We recently read Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon, but gave it two months because it was such a dense novel. It was wonderful. We gave it an A+. I have sitting on my desk Elizabeth Berg's latest: Tapestry of Fortunes. I'm on my last book in a stack of books I had to get through by a certain date, but Elizabeth's book is the dessert I can't wait to dig into!

Jennifer Major said...

I am actually going on an exotic vacation in 2 weeks. My very first swanky, hoity-toity, room service and pack all the bling, poshy-toshy, grown-up vacation. Nope, no sleeping bags...my Mom is taking me on a cruise. And yes, I feel guilty. I do. For real.
But reading??? Lori Benton's Burning Sky, Beth Vogt's Catch a Falling Star, and if I have time...wait for it...wait...Native American Testimony-A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present 1492-2000. I know, right?!?! I am dying to read that book! I just printed my Nerd ID with that last sentence.

Latayne C Scott said...

Jennifer, I gotcher nerdness beat. This summer I will be reading Confessions of St. Augustine, Creeds, The Church History, Beowulf, Macbeth, The Divine Comedy, Canterbury Tales, Song of Roland and History of the Kings of Britain.

Yes, I have to teach them in the fall :)

Henrietta Frankensee said...

This summer I am staying home. No exotic trips as in other years. I have finished the books I bought in London at Christmas and the one I bought in Phoenix at Easter. I'm not worried. Something will come along. Perhaps a selection from what my father brought last summer: The Original Illustrated Mark Twain. Benoni, son of my Sorrow, Islands by Dan Sleigh.....

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Sharon, so glad you liked Shadow of the Wind. The next book is 'The Angel's Game' and its tension was kicked up a notch. Read it with the lights on. (disclaimer: one chapter has sensuality which may offend some readers) I couldn't put it down, even though it gave me some disturbing dreams. The bittersweet victory at the end was worth it.
Latayne and Henrietta - some heavy stuff there! Hope you have something light and fluffy for a break somewhere along July.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

This summer, I have a bulky "to-read" pile. I don't know that I'll get to all of them. But...

I'm starting off with Patti Hill's newest title 'Goodness & Mercy'. It's SO good and setting the bar SO high for the rest of my reading.

Then I'm heading toward the Civil War era novels of Jocelyn Green. "Wedded to War" and "Widow of Gettysburg". I love Civil War history and look forward to digging into these books.

After that, I have some Luis Alberto Urrea to read.

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Susie, have you read 'The Widow of the South'? It's fictionalized history (I think that's the term). Very good. And if you ever get to Franklin, Tennessee, you can visit the plantation and town.

Cherry Odelberg said...

Vacation? What's a vacation? Reading a book is like falling in love or love at first sight; you know you shouldn't - even- open - the cover - until your work is done and you can be sensible. Maybe I am drawn to the forbidden fruit, clandestine quality.

Have a reading plan? Where is the fun in that? Books are for recreation, for breaking out of the mould.

Did I just say that? Me? The black and white, rule-keeping girl with the degree in organizational management?

Cherry Odelberg said...

P.S. Latayne, Those are hefty selections. I hope you LOVE the books, because I love to teach what I love.