Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Salon: Happy Summer!

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
~Emily Dickinson

Can you believe summer is finally here? For many of you, I imagine it began Memorial Day Weekend (for Americans) or the end of the school year earlier this month. I, however, am a calendar girl, and it really did not begin for me until today. The spring decorations in the office have made way for the upcoming Independence Day ones, and although the weather has not quite caught up with the changing of the season, it will soon enough.

It used to be that summers meant more reading time. When I was a child and up through my teen years, I would load up on library books and read to my heart's content. I barely stopped for meals and sleep. Come college time, summers were the only time I allowed myself to read for pleasure since the school year I was busy trying to keep up with my studies. Looking back, I am appalled I deprived myself in that way. Although, I am sure I meant well. Studies had to come first and it wasn't as if I did not have plenty of assigned reading to keep me busy.

Nowadays the summer months are really not all that different from any other time of year. Other than the fact that I cannot read in my car quite as much during my lunch breaks. The types of books I read do not change with the seasons (except for maybe the occasional Christmas oriented book closer to the holiday season--and even that is rare).

And yet, it is hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of summer. There's definitely something in the air.

How is your reading impacted by the summer season, if at all? Do you have any special summer plans, reading or otherwise?

Some of you may be familiar with Short Story Sunday hosted by James of Ready When You Are, C.B. or perhaps Short Story Monday hosted by John of The Book Mine Set. I have been toying with the idea of joining in for awhile now as the unread collections and anthologies of short stories gather dust on my shelves. My appreciation for short stories is still fairly new, and I would like to explore that further. As a result, I thought it might be fun to review a short story or two each week. So, be on the lookout for Short Story Saturdays here on Musings of a Bookish Kitty in the near future. Perhaps those of you not already participating in the Short Story review days will decide to give it a try too!

The Reading Status Report:

Book reviews posted this past week: Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel
Next review scheduled: Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall

Currently reading: Chemical Cowboys by Lisa Sweetingham

"That's not Angel," he said defiantly.

Gagne and Germanowski realized in that moment that Alig knew exactly what had happened to Melendez, and when he aw the photo of the only lead the police had, he knew they weren't even close. He had won that round, and the agents had lost a little credibility. [pg 145]
Currently Reading: The Missing Ink: A Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson

TBR Next: The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies (subject to change)

Other Posts of Interest This Week:
Wordless Wednesday: Riding the Highway (Part 2)
TGIF: Weekly Meme Fun

(Many thanks to Florinda of The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness for allowing me to copy her status report idea.)


  1. Oooh, I may just have to join you with the short stories...I seem to be amassing a rather large collection of collections! And I do love to read short stories, but somehow they seem to always slip under the radar.

    I'm one of those who doesn't seem to "feel summer" until school's out. Which unfortunately in these here parts, means we're not quite there yet. But just a few more days! I love summer reading...the weather is generally pleasant enough (as in not too hot) to allow for lots of outdoor reading.

  2. I've just finished THE MISSING INK and totally loved it! I can't wait to read what you think about it. I'm very happy to know that we're both participating in Karen's blog tour!

  3. For me, with the kids out of school, summer means less reading. I swear, they sense the crack of a book binding and run with the most random and inane things to ask or say. I could sit for an hour, book in hand, without disturbance... but the moment said book is opened, the Great Migration begins "Oh NO! Mom's reading! Must put a stop to that!" LOL... maybe I'm just paranoid.

  4. Hello and happy Summer to you on this the solstice! As usual I planned to see the sun come up and missed it! I realy must be better organised next year and go camping somewhere. I always wake up much earlier when camping and will be where I want to be rather than having to set the alarm at some ungodly time and drive to the specified venue! Apparently there were record numbers of people at Stone Henge in the UK this morning, almost like the old festival days!

    Did you see the sunrise?

    Summer is affecting my reading a little. I used to be a big sun worshipper but find now a days that I can work in the sun but don't enjoy sitting in it. I get too hot and usually get a headache, even with a hat on or in the shade. So summer has sent me in doors to enjoy my books. I don't suppose it matters that much as once you are inside the pages, your location fades away and all stimulus comes from the book and the mind, but it always feels a little wrong to be inside on a glorious day!

    Hope this comment finds you very well.

  5. Happy summer! For me, it still starts when the school year ends, but that was only about a week ago, so I'm mostly on schedule :-).

    I'll follow your short-story experiment with interest - with a few exceptions (Jhumpa Lahiri), they don't usually grab me. I like the "novel-in-stories" concept where the stories are all connected; it seems like a good compromise.

    I'm so glad you like the Reading Status Report format enough to use it yourself, Wendy - maybe it will catch on! But since you're not an accountant, there's no reason to call yours "Bookkeeping," like I do with mine :-).

  6. Summer unofficially began here on Memorial Day, but it's officially here today and we've been having awful weather. It's dreary and raining all the time. I hear that later in the week it will be better.

    I don't think summer has any real effect on my reading. I still have the same work schedule which means not anymore reading time than other seasons. That's okay,though :)

  7. Hey Wendy,
    Oh I just love that poem from my favorite poet. You have evoked my memories of summer library time to make me smile today. Thanks.
    I too remember coming home with books each week. I sequestered myself in a quiet place,trying to hide from siblings and other intrusions so that I could enjoy my new books.
    This summer I have to complete my Civil War class with an upcoming trip to Gettysburg. Then at the end of the summer a condensed course in World War II history will keep me busy with appropriate reading.

    In between I hope to just enjoy the summer life, with much more time to crack open a few new books.

  8. Today is the first day of summer here but you wouldn't know it. It's quite cold out. We could really use some rain with the cold gloomy day though. I think I may read a bit more in the summer only because I spend a bit less time on the computer and more time outside with the dog.

  9. Debi - I hope that you do! I do enjoy reading short stories, but I so often will choose a full-length novel over them. I figure if I do it the way I have planned, I won't feel obligated to read the entire short story book all at once. I can spread it out and enjoy it that way. It takes a little pressure off and gives me a good excuse to dive into something short when that's what my mood calls for.

    And I thought my mom's school year ran long! The summer months are when I wish I lived somewhere a little cooler. It would be nice to sit outside and read.

    Alice - I'm so glad, Alice! I started it just this morning and so far, so good.

    Koolaidmom - Ugh! I know that really shouldn't surprise me. You definitely would have your hands more full when they are home all day and not in school.

    Although it's not nearly the same, I can relate somewhat to your kids gravitating to you just as you open up a book to read. Parker loves to come lay on my book if I'm lying on my stomach to read. And that's always when my dog Riley wants to play the most. :-)

    Dancin' Fool - Hey there! It's so good to "see" you. I missed the sunrise this morning too, although barely. I had to get up in the middle of the night with the dog and that kind of threw me off. I'm not sure there would have been much to see here anyway though. The clouds were pretty heavy this morning. They've since cleared away and it's beautiful out now.

    I hope you are able to go camping around the Summer Solstice next year. That sounds so nice--and a perfect way to celebrate.

    I'm afraid I am not one for sitting in the sun now either. Summers here can be very hot and I'm much more comfortable inside. My husband is prone to severe headaches if out in the sun too long and so that has something to do with it too, I'm sure. But, as you said, there is something about a beautiful day that makes one long to be outdoors . . .

  10. Florinda - I think summer begins with the end of school for most people. LOL I know it does for my mom and brother who are both teachers. Now that my dad's retire, the entire year is one big summer to him. :-)

    Hopefully the short story experiment will work out. I am not always good about keeping to a schedule, but we'll see. And then to find time to read short stories, something I don't often do. I'm going to make a good effort at it though and see how it goes.

    I love your "Bookkeeping" title but worried that if I used it, I would be stealing too much of your idea. You were kind enough to let me borrow your idea in the first place. :-)

    Yvonne - I do wish you could send some of that rain our way! The sun is now out and the clouds have disappeared. Looks like summer really has come my way. Maybe it heard me talking about it. :-)

    I'm like you, I work the same hours and so my reading time will be about the same as always. I do like the idea of summer though--even if it really doesn't change much for me.

    Wisteria - Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet too. :-) I've been in a mood to re-read some of her work again. Now that I think about it, I never count her in my re-read count whenever I'm asked if I reread books. I don't do it often, but I have a collection of her poems I return to now and then.

    I used to love going to the library during the summers. When I was a child, I would attend the summer reading program that the public library put on each year--that was always so much fun.

    Gettysburg! I hope you have a great time on your trip. My parents honeymooned there, would you believe? My dad is a real Civil War buff. Well, any war really.

    Good luck with your classes! And I hope you are able to enjoy the summer to its fullest.

    Dar - The sky has actually cleared up where I live, surprisingly enough. The June gloom has been with us so long I almost forgot what a blue sky looked like.

    I am sure your dog will appreciate spending the extra time with your outdoors. :-) That sounds so nice. It gets a bit too hot here for that during the summer months, I'm afraid. I'd rather be nice and cool indoors.

  11. Wendy - I like the idea of summer reading too. One thing I do try to do is read books that have a "summer" theme to them. However, that doesn't always work out either :)

  12. My reading doesn't really change based on seasons, either. My location does - more gets down outside and at the beach when the weather is nice.

    Question for you, if you feel like answering - Can you suggest a book, preferably a series, that will help me out of this slump I'm in? I'm willing to break my no new books rule in this case.


  13. I understand completely about not reading for pleasure during the school year. When I was in college, I was the same way. I'd actually feel guilty for reading for pleasure. I was always thinking of something assigned I *should* be reading. I imagine that will be the case in the fall when I start classes again. (sigh)
    It definitely felt like summer here in WV. It was hot today.

  14. I don't think my reading habits change with summer, but summer does make everything lovelier!

  15. I'm spoiled because I get my summers off...and I spend it reading and working summer rec. I always love to sit outside with my book and coffee, watching my animals being goofy and the occasional hummingbird flying by my head!! Have fun with what you're currently reading!!

  16. I agree with you, my reading really doesn't change much during the summer. Since I teach, I have more time to read in the summer so the amount that I read does increase, but most of the time I don't change my books. I hardly ever do, except for an occasional Christmas book during that season. I start teaching Summer School July 15, but it is just in the mornings, 4 days a week, so it shouldn't really impact my reading too much. Great post!

  17. I haven't really read short stories in a long time and I don't know why. There are some really good ones out there, so I'm looking forward to seeing what your find.
    ON our last long car trip we listened to Jeffery Deaver's short story collection, Twisted, and it was a lot of fun.

  18. Yvonne - There is something to be said for reading a book in the season it's set in. Although sometimes on a really hot day, it's nice to read a book set in the dead cold of winter. :-)

    CJ - Beach reading sure does sound nice!

    I left a comment on your blog with a few recommendations. I'm not sure how helpful they'll be. I hope you are able to get out of your slump soon. Sometimes the best cure for me is to tell myself it's okay not to read and spend time on other hobbies or interests I've been neglecting. And there's always magazines, I suppose. :-) Good luck!

    Nicole - I probably would have felt guilty about it too. I was pretty hard on myself back then. I wonder if I'd do the same now if I went back to school. We'll see how it works out for you. It'd probably be the same for me. :-)

    I'm not looking forward to the hot temperatures this season, but I know they're coming. Stay cool!

    Staci - Lucky you! My mom gets summers off too. She's planning to spend more time reading, I'm sure. She doesn't read as much as she'd like during the school year.

    Kristie - I'm glad you will at least get to spend more time reading if you want to. At least with summer school it's a shorter schedule. You definitely deserve a break. Teaching is such a challenging job, not to mention time consuming.

    Stacy - I don't have a good excuse either for not reading more short stories. :-) Hopefully this will prove worthwhile. I think it will. :-)

  19. It's always summer over here all year round, so it doesn't realy affect my reading. ;) However, there're time that I wish for some rainy days so I can snuggle under my duvet and read to my heart's content.

  20. My reading habits don't change all that much over the summer, although I do try to do as much of my reading outside as I possibly can. As I get older, I'm gettinga bit more "whimpy" about sitting in the sun once temps go past the mid-80s, but I enjoy sitting outside in the shade no matter how hot it is.

    I do enjoy what's considered typical "beach reads" over the summer, but once we get into the really hot and muggy days, I also enjoy reading something that's set in a cold climate or in the middle of winter!

  21. I do a lot of reading in the car too and summer sure puts a dent in that.

    For me, I am still working so MY schedule is pretty much the same but since I am not battling the kids on homework and there are lots of swimming lessons and rehearsals instead, I end up filling up the time with books.

    I remember summer as a kid though. I would spend the entire day at the library reading. They had great AC and an endless supply of adventure. I loved it!

  22. I seem to have more to do in the summer since our son's home.

  23. I usually get a lot more reading done in the summer, because the NBA season is over. 84 games take up a lot of a fan's time! :-)


  24. LF -

    Thanks for the suggestions. I came to you because so many of the books you love sound so wonderful to me - our tastes seem to be similar. I'll be checking your suggestions out!


  25. Melody - Come the cold of winter, I wouldn't mind living in a place that had summer all the time. ;-) Of course, it doesn't get quite as cold where I live as many other places, so I shouldn't complain.

    Ingrid - The mid-80's are perfect reading outside weather. We get too many hot days in the summer to make it worthwhile to read outdoors, even in the shade.

    Ti - The best days to sit and read in the car are rainy ones. :-) Summer library days were the best, weren't they?

    Kathy - I can imagine! Kids keep parents busy, that's for sure.

    Lezlie - Haha! I can believe it. :-)

    CJ - You're welcome. I hope you find something you like!

  26. This is the first summer in my entire life that I haven't had a vacation from school! I'm in grad school but single year MA students don't get the summer off, so I'm still working hard. As a result it doesn't really feel like summer. I bet it will in July when I go home to see my parents for a couple of weeks though!

    Most of my friends stopped reading in college. I read less, especially the first year while I got accustomed to the course load, but I'm reading more than ever now. There is a lot less class time in England, so I can make my own hours.

    I really like your short story idea! I may copy you when I get married in the fall and hopefully find a full-time job shortly afterwards. I think I'll have trouble adjusting and I do have a number of collections just waiting for my attention!

  27. Oh I do love summer! I do tend to read according to the seasons -- especially in the fall and at Christmas, as well. I love reading outdoors, and like you, I enjoy reading in my car at lunch until it becomes unbearable, which is pretty much now. I look back nostalgically at those summers growing up when I had all the time in the world to read anything I liked. It was paradise, and I didn't even know it.

  28. What I'm reading doesn't change too much in the summertime, but I love being able to read outside! I head straight out on my breaks, and I spend an awful lot of time reading in my backyard at home. It's wonderful to be out in the fresh air, enjoying a good story.

  29. Wendy, I cannot wait to see what you think of Karen's new book. I haven't started it yet but I get the feeling it'll be a fun mystery!

    As far as summer reading plans, I do not want to have any deadlines or anything like that... So aside from hosting Karen's tour I'm taking a break from all of that. I just want to read at whim :)

  30. I think Sunday literally flipped a switch here in Chicago. My last load of laundry included sweatpants and hoodies mixed in with summer dresses and t-shirts. Now, I think, we are firmly in t-shirt territory :-) Though we seem to still get DELUGES of rain...

  31. Meghan - It's hard making that transition from having summers free to having to work or study through them. There's just something that feels off about it.

    Lisa - I loved being able to read all day long to my heart's content. Sometimes I still manage to do that, but not very often.

    Memory - I would love to read outside more this time of year, but it is way too hot for that. Ho hum. Have to wait for the late fall for that now.

    Iliana - It's so good! I'm beginning to believe Karen can do no wrong.

    My plan this summer was to keep my deadlines to a minimum and then I go and sign up for two group reads in a couple of my reading groups. Go figure. At least they are books from my TBR shelves.

    Aarti - It's definitely T-shirt weather in So Cal. I wish we would get some rain. We desperately need it.


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