Every summer to-do list ought to include:
- Get up early enough to catch a sunrise.
- Make a s’more over an open flame.
- Enjoy the crack of a bat at a baseball game.
- Lounge around on a boat (or, failing that, a hammock) while drinking something cold.
- Eat corn on the cob drenched in butter.
- Ooh and aah while watching fireworks.
Also? Read a book. Or three.
Summer is a great time for catching up on your reading. The sun rises early and sets late. There are three three-day weekends plus all the vacation time you earned during the hard, cold winter. Meals consist of things you can cook over a campfire or delegate to someone else to grill. You should have lots of time to lose yourself in a good book.
Tops on my summer reading list are all the books I’m in the midst of reading but haven’t quite finished:
- Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegon Days (let’s just say I’m reading this one for research).
- Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally (because I started it a year and half ago and I still haven’t finished it).
- Marina Chapman’s A Girl with No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys (because I quit reading it when it started ringing less than true, but I want to see how it ends anyway).
- Norman Mailer’s Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man (because Norman Mailer, right?).
- Mark Schatzker’s The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor (I’m gonna finish this one over a bag of Doritos for sure).
- Lee H. Whittlesey’s Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park (because who doesn’t have morbid curiosity?).
And I’m also reading Jane Fredrickson’s Redemption’s Run, only I’m savoring a little bit each day reading it serialized in the Star Tribune. I love the newspaper’s annual installment series!
That’s seven books I want to finish this summer, but I’m committing to starting and finishing three more (because even numbers are pleasing to my mind). Let’s see, I want to read a memoir, a trashy novel and something that will make me think:
- A memoir: Mary Karr’s Cherry
- A trashy novel: Wednesday Martin’s Primates of Fifth Avenue
- Something to make me think: Sendhil Millainathan & Eldar Shafir’s Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much
Do you have any summer reading goals? No? It’s June 5th and time to make some. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, here are a few that are near and dear to my heart (full disclosure: I wrote them):
- Semi-autobiographical young adult novel that’ll have you nostalgic for your first kiss: Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982
- Self-help book to make it easier to get into your bikini (or maillot, whatever): How to Look Hot & Feel Amazing in Your 40s: The 21-Day Age-Defying Diet, Exercise & Everything Plan
- Trashy memoir that reads like a true crime novel: The Percussionist’s Wife: A Memoir of Sex, Crime & Betrayal
That last one there? The memoir? I published that one five years ago this summer, and it was named BookWorks’ Book of the Week this week! “True story about confronting and overcoming betrayal.” How great is that? A friend asked me recently if it was a tell-all. “Oh, yes, all,” I said. Check it out. Twenty-five people on Amazon say it’s worth adding to your to-read list.