Summer’s Here: Let the Reading Begin

Wish you were here. Don't try this with your Kindle, folks.

Summer reading to me brings back memories of Seafront, the U.S. Embassy compound in Manila where we lived for part of my childhood. I spent a lot of time padding into the small library (bathing suits were allowed, so long as you weren’t still dripping, and had your flip-flops on) to find a new book. After staying in the pool until I was well waterlogged, I would flop on a towel and disappear into a book, turning the pages with wrinkly fingertips. A lot of this poolside reading consisted of series books: Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins, Cherry Ames, the Boxcar Children.

I also have memories of books I found in the bookcases of my relatives. My family would return to the U.S. every few years to visit family. The books I remember most were in the bookcase of the room where I slept in at my grandparents’ house in Connecticut. Each time we visited, I would reread WE TOOK TO THE WOODS by Louise Dickinson Rich. Coming from our posting in Southeast Asia, her tale of life in the Maine woods was somehow exotic. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Now my family is preparing to fly to California to hike in Yosemite, and our luggage is bursting with books: novels, nonfiction, bird and wildlife field guides, graphic novels. I am packing four mysteries and a nonfiction book, my husband a single long novel about Vikings. Our 11-year-old son is dithering about what books to slip into his carry on and which to pack. Experience tells me we may come home with even more books. We tend to brake for book stores.

I’m happy that ELEPHANT TALK has made some summer reading lists, especially the list of my own library here in Somerville, Mass., and the Summer 2011 list of Science Books and Films, where I get to keep some fabulous–and humbling–company.

Please share your own your summer reading memories. Do you tend toward fiction or do you mix it up with nonfiction and biography? What books would you stock in a bookcase in lighthouse by the sea? In a tree house? For a trip in a hot-air balloon? Share below. And happy reading.