In praise of summer reading
As an adult, it’s sometimes hard to remember the glory that is summer vacation. My memories of childhood summer breaks often blur together into a kind of “greatest hits” montage — a mix of long walks in the woods with my dad, hot afternoons spent practicing cannonballs off my best friend’s diving board and nights spent immersed in intense games of flashlight tag.
As a kid, summer was almost too good to be real — nearly three full months without classrooms, vocabulary worksheets, math problems and homework. Well, no homework except for one thing — the summer reading list.
I’ve always been a big reader, so the reading list was something I secretly looked forward to each year. Even as a kid, I could tell the difference between the works of children’s literature assigned to me by teachers and my usual preferred reading, which was mostly limited to the sagas of the Baby-sitters Club in Stoneybrook, Conn.
To this day, some of my favorite books are school-assigned classics: Bridge to Terabithia, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Once and Future King among them. Those books were the ones I took on family vacations, to places like Deep Creek Lake in Maryland or my aunt’s old house in Myrtle Beach. Often, those old classics would help me sleep, distracting me from any sunburns, mosquito bites or homesickness I had acquired during the day.
In college, summer reading took on a new meaning. For those years, summer gave me the freedom to read what I wanted. After spending months nose-deep in sociology textbooks or Russian literature, summer meant I had time to savor the latest Harry Potter book, or to stay up late reading whatever juicy bestseller I’d had on my wish list for months.
Nowadays, I have come to terms with the fact that I no longer get a summer break, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the idea of summer reading. For me, longer days should mean a slower pace of life and more time to get totally lost in a good book.
If you’re looking for some good summer reading, be sure to check the book reviews listed under the entertainment section of our website. There, you’ll find inspirational spiritual books and biographies of saintly figures like Pope Benedict XVI and Mother Teresa.
And, if you have any book suggestions, please share. What’s on your summer reading list?