Summer’s half over – by our traditional school calendar (which gave us a full June, July and August away from the classroom). If by now you have gotten out your summer ya-yas and are feeling listless as long hot summer days play out, get a list. A list of reading you can do for the rest of the summer.
You’ve probably heard this before, but if you are planning to write for a living or just for fun, you should read all you can, all you can get your two hands and two feet on. Reading broadens our understanding of people and the many and varied ways we choose to live, aids our creativity and provides great examples of the many avenues of writing – novels, poetry, short stories, essays. Reading hones writing in many other ways, too.
Ah, you say, you would like to read, but you just don’t have the time. You have kids to care for or transport to those remaining summer activities, or to ready for their return to school. Or you work and are too tired at night, or you have some other excuse.
Ah, I say, you should find some time in that busy schedule to read, if you study your time chart close enough. What about on the weekends? Or, yes, at night, after work or before going to bed. You could read just one paragraph each night to get started. I did that once when I was in grad school, working and caring for my children. Made it though “Watership Down” that way.
Summer vacations or long holiday weekends provide other opportunities to read. The beach is a great place – what better activity is there while lying in the sun or in the motel room?
So, I have talked you into doing some reading. How do you come up with a list?
To get started, you may just want to read about summer. You could begin with novels, such as “Folly Beach” by Dorothea Benton Frank, or books about summer camp or other summer enjoyments, such as baseball or sailing.
If you are taking a class this fall, you have a running start on summer reading. You may have specific books you are required to read or ones your instructor suggests you read in preparation for the class.
For those not planning a return to the classroom any time soon, try linking your reading with what you are doing this summer. For example, you may want to do some hiking or camping or occasional communing with nature. Fine, read about plants and wildlife or outdoor adventures. Many well-written and even exciting books can be found at the book store or library. Those include “The Wilderness Reader” or “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey.
Your plans may include travel in your state or region or across the United States, or even travel overseas. Books on travel abound, including ones with great guides to Paris, London and other great cities. Also, you can read about places or regions you might want to visit some day. An excellent book about one particular region — southern France — is “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle.
You may have favorite authors you like to read – spend the summer with them. Or you may have books you’ve wanted to read but have for some reason put off encountering. Read them this summer, or at least get started toward paring down that list.