Summer Reading!

Dear people who don’t mind hearing about the details of my life (why do you read this blog? I can’t figure it out.):

You have heard me complain for too long about how I missed summer. Well, I’m here to say, my complaining is done. I’m in summer. And it’s hot and full of sunshine and pools and oceans and mosquitoes and fireflies and little boys who stay outside all morning/afternoon and who always need a bath at the end of the day because they smell like bug spray and chlorine and little boy sweat. It’s lovely.

I’m just back from my week with friends in Maine. (Soon to come, thoughts on why I love seeing my friends love my kids. Also, why the quaint house my husband’s great-grandfather—whose middle name happens to be August—built there has become one of my favorite places in the world.)

But before then, I will tell you about Summer Reading. When I was a book nerdy kid who also loved to win contests, I participated every summer in both the local library’s summer reading program AND the church library reading program (!). I distinctly remember that one summer my church library’s reading award was a bag of little rocks that had been spray painted gold. (Why? You ask. Good question.)

All that to say, summer reading is unique. It always has been for me. It is an entirely different beast than, say, fall/winter/spring reading. This is because it has to be something that can be looked up from when you’re at the pool and you need to discuss whatever it is people talk about at the pool. It also has to be worthy of the water and sun damage that summer reading does to it. (And for you ocean people, the sand damage.) And it has to be worthy of your fondest memories of the year. This may not make sense to you, but I can think of certain summers and recall what books I was reading then. (Summer between freshman and sophomore year of college? Weeping on my bed while I finished A Prayer for Owen Meany at 3 in the morning.) Summer reading is the category I save for the books I have a hankering might just become some of my favorites.

So I will now share with you what I’m currently reading (while I’m sitting by my mother in law’s pool during naptime for the next four days) and what is also in my queue for the rest of my July and August.

Tender is the NightThough it sounds like a cheesy romance written in the 90’s, this is actually one of F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s greatest accomplishments. It was published around 10 years following The Great Gatsby and though it has never really become part of the high school literary cannon, for some, it’s his greatest achievement. “Some” includes my husband, who counts Tender is the Night among his Top 5 fiction books ever.  It is also why he can’t wait to turn 34 and why he strives to be a man of “repose.” If you don’t know my husband and/or the book, that sentence will make very little sense to you. It’s okay. Let’s move on.

Bossypants – Let me just say that I have a friend crush on Tina Fey (and her awesome cohorts Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph). I have a secret dream that in an alternate life, I would have taken drama in high school and gone on to a career in sketch comedy. Seriously, don’t tell anyone. I’d just die if people found out. In my actual life, my greatest performance will always be when I performed (3 years ago) as a mullet sporting Russian tap dancer with “fire ribbons” for a camp for of high school students. Bossypants is seriously hilarious. You should read it and support women in comedy everywhere! (Even those at camps.)

The Missional Mom – Yes I’m still reading Helen Lee’s book. Slowly. And I’m excited to write soon about the things I’m learning about my gifts and my passions and my calling to the missional life…


What’s still waiting…

The Red Tent – You all probably read Anita Diamont’s book a million years ago when the rest of the world did. But after one of my friends in SF whose bookishness is admirable told me it was in her top 5, I decided I should save it for a summer read. After all, it has women, menstruation, birthing, childrearing, tents and Bible times in it! How could I not like it?

The Way of the Heart – This Henry Nouwen classic about the teachings of St. Anthony and the Desert Fathers is my monkish reading for the month. I’ve had it for a year and am really excited to finally read it.

One Thousand Gifts – I still haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s book that came out last spring. But I bought it for my mom for Mother’s Day and she can’t stop telling me that’s it’s “so good.” If it has JoDeane’s seal of approval, I’m in.

What about you guys, what’s your summer reading?



Filed under Books

7 responses to “Summer Reading!

  1. caq

    The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis–I read it and now I am re-reading it. Also Annie Proulx stories. And The New Yorker. After years of successfully avoiding The New Yorker, it has finally hypnotized me–the non-fiction is great. And you can get them wet, because another one always comes in a week (plus my man pays for the subscription so, really, I have no excuse). xocaq

  2. I absolutely loved “Bossypants.” I also just finished Lamott’s “Imperfect Birds,” L’Engle’s “Bright Evening Star,” and Keller’s “Counterfeit Gods.” All wonderful, in their own right. Now I’m working on, or queuing up, the collection of short stories from Irène Némirovsky, who became famous for “Suite Francais,” called “Dimanche.” A quirky little brilliant book called “Iconostasis,” from Pavel Florensky. Also working through, since it’s a twelve week study, Paintner’s “The Artist’s Rule,” which is a monastic approach to artistic living. (So far, beautiful.)

    And I will, today, so help me the Power above all powers, send you and email about Austin.

  3. Alysia

    I am LOVING 1,000 Gifts, and also making my way slowly through Keller’s Generous Justice. They both challenge me in totally different directions, and I think they could change my heart if I just let them! Or maybe, God could change my heart through them. . . For a lighter moment, Riding the Bus with My Sister (by Rachel Simon) is a nice break, and to put me to sleep at night I’m plowing through Antonia Frasier’s Faith and Treason, about the Gunpowder plot in 1605 of all things! =)

  4. Pingback: Thankful Maine | mama:monk

  5. Leah Davis

    Is Anne N. in SF your “bookish” friend? She’s recommended The Red Tent and The Way of the Heart both to me, and so they’re on my list too! 🙂

    • Leah! I’m the slowest responder ever on this blog. But, yes, Anne is my bookish friend! I’m working on The Way of the Heart but I haven’t gotten to The Red Tent yet. I’d love to know what you think of both of them. Missing you guys…

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