Every year, even before the seasons change, my mind starts to wander. The first warm breeze that blows through, the first big tree that grows lush with new leaves — with every hint of summer I get the urge to drop what I’m doing and get lost in a book.
You’d think winter — what, with its weather the perfect excuse for staying in, cuddling up with a blanket and hot beverage and hibernating for a few hours — would be the time of year most associated with reading voraciously, but that’s not so.
I remember, when I was younger, cracking open the spine of a hardbound school copy of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The world melted away as I sat on the porch digesting that assigned reading, which became one of my all-time favorite books. Then there was the year I took a copy of Judy Blume’s “Summer Sisters” to the beach and read it in an entire sitting, forgoing any breaks to take a dip in the ocean.
One of my favorite summer reading memories is from the year I stayed on WVU’s campus to work and take a class. Perusing the bookstore one warm, lazy evening, I grabbed a book with a pretty yellow cover, “The Secret Life of Bees.” I read it between answering the phone and fetching mail on campus. It was gorgeous. The book went on to be a best-seller and I spent the rest of the summer trading it amongst my avid reader friends.
But having such random luck at the bookstore is a rarity. More often than not, I go into the summer with a well-researched list of novels that I’m hoping to plow through, fueled by a big cup of sweet tea. And, of course, I base my research on the dozens of categorized lists of summer’s “must-read” books, published by the likes of NPR, the Washington Post and the LA Times.
I love these suggestions! More recently, they appear broken down into categories — thrillers, beach reads, nonfiction, books for traveling, etc. As the lists appear, I bookmark them, referencing them often and compiling lists of which items to hunt for at our local library.
They’re starting to trickle out online. Soon, they’ll be shared in my Facebook news feed. I’m giddy at the prospect of dozens of bibliophile friends then making their own recommendations and (hopefully!) trading especially good novels with me.
There are more than 100 million books in the world. How do you decide which ones to dive into?