Posts Tagged ‘Summer Reading’

Summer’s a great time to read – it doesn’t matter if you’re on the front porch or in the A/C, if it’s in the cool morning or squeezing it in for a half-hour before you turn out the light – it just seems that time must be made to read. So what are you reading? And how do you decide what to read?

OneCrazySummer-RWGarcia2I find that friends often have great suggestions, especially if they’re involved in children’s books, too. One friend, getting her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, comes up with great suggestions because she’s reading like a fiend while getting her degree, as does another who does constant research for her own writing in picture books. Of course, I always come across fabulous finds at our huge annual county book sale, but let’s not forget one other source …

Our humble librarians. The local librarian in my little town is a wealth of information, and by now, she also knows me well enough to make some wonderful suggestions as well, especially in KidLit. Awhile back, she had mentioned how much she enjoyed the first middle-grade book of a trilogy by Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer. It’s about 3 girls who live in Brooklyn traveling out to Oakland, CA to meet their mother who left them 7 years earlier. I hadn’t realized initially that this is historical fiction, and the story takes place when the p.s.BeEleven-RGWilliams2Black Panthers were active in CA, as was their mother. It’s a fascinating tale that takes place when I was well aware of all the goings-on at that time, the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, Bobby Kennedy, the Vietnam war, etc. But what really brought the story to life is Garcia’s three main characters, Delphine, Vonetta and Fern. They are so real; it’s no wonder Ms. Garcia-Williams won so many awards, including a Newbery Honor Award.

So endearing and engrossing are these sisters, that I brought back the first book, and walked right out with the second, p.s. Be Eleven, advice given to Delphine by her mother at the end of each letter she sends her, (Delphine being the oldest.) The author doesn’t shy away from big topics and now the girls, back in Brooklyn, are trying to understand what’s happened to Uncle Darnell who’s returned from Vietnam, not the Uncle D. they knew just 15 months ago. Family plays a big part in these stories and Big Ma, raised in the South, has her own ideas about raising the girls, as does Pa, but then the girls must also deal with him introducing a new lady friend and getting married. It’s real life, and all shared through the eyes of these three wonderfully drawn young  girls.

I’ve just put in a request to get the third book in the trilogy, Gone Crazy in Alabama, through inter-library loan, but meanwhile, have jumped into an adult novel, recommended by yet another friend and avid reader, Defending Jacob.

It’s summer – are you reading?




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One of the wonderful things about summer is that the light lasts so much longer. OK, that can mean more time to get things done, but it also lends itself to sitting outside and reading for awhile after one is done those very things. Another wonderful reason to love summer? NOTHING on television. Repeats, silly reality shows, (except Master Chef), not one thing to make one want to curl up and engage with some characters on a good drama or have a good chuckle. All that adds up to?


I just finished Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, another excellent book. And, like The Last Templar, it’s a novel which offers insight into an historic period/series of events I’ve known little about, the internment of the Japanese during World War II. This is a beautifully written novel. It is, all at the same time, a story about the cultural differences of an American and Japanese who fall in young love, a murder mystery told through a courtroom drama, aspects of life on San Piedro island – the men who make their living fishing on the ocean and those who cultivate the land on strawberry farms, the experience of some of the islanders who fought in the war and the aftereffects, and the rounding up and shipping off of the island’s Japanese residents and the conditions they were forced to endure.

Sounds like a pretty tall order, but Guterson is a wonderful writer and he captures it all. The snow, the cedars, the ocean, strawberries – all are practically characters in their own right. I’ll be holding my breath, but am going to get the movie.

And now I’ m reading a children’s book, Holes by Louis Sacher. Holes was the American Library Association’s 1999 Newbery winner. Awhile back, I decided to start reading what is considered the best in children’s literature and made a list – those that I wanted to read selected from among the Newbery winners. However, I  prefer this list – the ALA Newbery medal winners AND the Honor books chosen – many not-to-be-missed books were right behind the medal winners.

Hoping you’re finding some time to read whatever you love while the daylight lingers ….

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Have you ever found that no matter what book you pick up it still isn’t really the one you want to read right now?

I’ve started 3 books recently, and although each one is excellent, it isn’t the one I really want to read right now. Too dramatic, too wrenching, too informational, too … too … too. So maybe it’s time for summer reading … light. (Or if one wants to be on the current bandwagon of slang – lite.) I see summer reading lists all over the place, and the recommendations tend to be towards lighter, faster reads – lots of mysteries and less demanding stories written to entertain. Who am I to buck a current trend?

So I turned to my Library Book Sale haul to look for “light”, and selected this – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I had rented the movie, and it was entertaining. I see there are a few others up there that won’t drain my very soul, so maybe this is the way to go for the rest of the summer. We shall see. And if in need of a fast moving mystery, the library’s only a 1/2 mile walk away.  What have you found for your summer reading?

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