Today is officially the first day of summer! Although rainy and cloudy today, the summer solstice is when we get the most hours of sunlight all year (because the North Pole is tilted toward the sun). When did the notion of “summer reading” first appear? American families seldom had leisure time to enjoy a reading weekend or a week even, until the 1960s. Many people refrained from reading as a bluestocking activity;
e.g. brainfever! However, many people read throughout their lives, during the evenings or stolen moments at lunch, on the bus, during the commute (thank you audio books!). Previously the USA had a great literacy rate, with much self-education as life long learning (much of it by candlelight and gaslight!)
The anticipation of a few leisurely summer days gives readers a destination and goal. I always stockpile new books as well as books recommended by others for summer reads. Ok, I always have a pile of books that I want to read! But knowing that many authors will be having their big debuts/sales in the autumn, summer is a time to read for pleasure – anything that takes your fancy. Classics, mysteries, fiction, history, historical thrillers, romance, period pieces, out of print novels, those yard sale delights that you couldn’t resist for a dollar (or less!). To say nothing of reading through that stack you collected over winter, kept warm by the promise of sultry summer sunshine. Share your reading lists this summer – please comment! One bookclub just finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – and highly recommends it.
Today is also the birthay of Ian McEwan, well known for his book Atonement (and the movie). Several other distinguished novels include Amsterdam (1998), Saturday (2005), On Chesil Beach (2007), and Solar (2010). I love his reading quote: “My ideal state as a reader when I’m reading other people is feeling I’m vaguely wasting my time when I’m not reading that novel.”