Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Even though the time has long since passed when summer meant free days of fun in the sunshine, days at the pool, and long sultry afternoons with a great book, I can't help but approach summer with dreams of all the above. Every year I pick out a few summer reads. Books that I think will represent that summer for me. That will transport me out of the tedium of having to put on work clothes when the high temperature is going to be in the 90's. Something to look forward to during those long evenings I now spend on my porch.

I thought I would write a little bit about the books I'm planning on reading this summer, and perhaps inspire you to set out with some great summer dreams of your own:

For the past few summers, I have picked a book relating to the garden that I will read all summer long. Last year it was the excellent Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, now in paperback. This year it's Gardening At The Dragon's Gate, by Wendy Johnson. This is a zen approach to gardening in the form of a memoir. I am really enjoying it. I like to spend my weekend mornings gardening, weeding, watering, and then sit with my coffee and this book. Her approach to gardening is very similar to mine: it is more than making plants grow, it is a way of communicating not only with nature, but the past and the future as well. I recommend this book.

Each summer, I like to read some lighter fare as well. Something when your attention may wander: either to watch a bird you haven't seen before, or because the people watching is really superb in the summer. This year, I am planning on starting to read Men From The Boys by William J Mann. This is the first novel by the author, published in 1998. He has since written a few other books, sequels to this first novel. And though I may have implied that this is lighter fare, I think it would be better described as a conversational approach to some very serious topics: coming out of the closet, HIV and AIDS, and trying to be yourself. I have been wanting to read this highly regarded series for a number of years, and will finally do it this year.

A friend just recommended I read The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. The book doesn't come out until August, but I have it on good faith that it's going to be well worth the wait. From what I've been hearing, this book is one of those fantastic, can't put down, completely transported to another world kind of books. Which is often exactly what I crave during the summer.

So these are three of the books I am planning on reading this summer. Of course, I have a huge shelf of books I want to read, and plan on getting to, including finishing the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin. I'm on the fourth book, and can't wait to fall back into the City.

I'd love to hear from you about what you're planning on reading this summer.

Bookseller Joe

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