I have started back to work, and have been enjoying a bookish commute and a well-rested seven-spot of days. I’ve been reading all of the bestsellers that have been recommended for their steamy sex scenes, outdoor adventures set in mountains, psychological thrillers and a sweet pink book about rescued doggies. Overall it’s been a joy to escape the heat with my unsweetened green iced tea and a good story.
This weekend we are tackling the daunting task of DIY-ing a new kitchen floor in our condo. Our chipped terra cotta tiles are no more. Here sits a bare wood floor: scraped, sanded and ready to be adorned by a new underlay, absorb some adhesive, and be topped with fresh gray slate. This weekend also marked the start of a new training regimen for me and a lazy trip down the Delaware River in a tube. In between these activities I’ve taken book breaks and read each night before sleep.
As Monday approaches, I’ve added a hardcover I’d put aside to my bag. Before I jump back in, I will wrap up an erotic title on the Nook. As the theme for much of this year has been sexy stories, I think I’m more than ready to switch gears. After the supernatural thriller I have neglected is done, I am going shopping: in my own home. There have been several titles catching the corner of my eye as I stroll through the living room. From the bookcase, The Great Gatsby said, “Hey! Remember me?” and Wuthering Heights gave me a wink. In addition, my treasured Franny and Zoey flapped an impatient couple of leaves at me and I swear Dean Koontz is speaking to me telepathically. He suggests I should reread Midnight before I order his newest title.
Like a fine wine, a good book often gets better with age. In all the years I have been filling bookcases, one thing has remained true: these are my children, my best friends, and my family. No matter their year of publication—they never get old. There is always an ear in Sylvia Plath to coax me away from my own demons and bear someone else’s cross for a page or a hundred. As long as I have three shelves of Koontz and King I will never lack a gripping thriller to rip me from reality for a weekend. With essayists, genre writers and authors cut from myriad cloths, there is never a dull moment in my bookshelf. Therefore, I always want to return.
As we floated down the Delaware this beautifully bright and breezy day, my tube mates and I discussed some books. We mentioned old ones, new ones, and happily drifting with fellow writers, ones in progress. This is what I love about summer. When the days are longer, the floor is halfway to complete; work is still a day away everything is mellow. There seems to be more room for good friends, healthy habits and a ton of titles. Granted the hot dogs and sodas we bobbled over to at the halfway point may not be in the healthy zone, we had the best freakin’ day!
Looking ahead to the rest of the summer, I see plenty of lazy lounging in the sun with SPF 50 of course and friends old and new. Predictions for the next two months include flipping page after page of paper friends old and new, outdoorsy activities followed by a romp in the grass with Salinger, beer gardens and salads slowly savored with Jacob Riis, and many an air conditioned snuggle session with my favorite horror masters: Koontz and King.
Often, we think that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get through all of the tasks we set out to squeeze in. We try and try but we end up with only half of our silly to do lists done by dusk. Blackberries beep from our pockets instead of shining on nearby bushes instead. Summer, however, seems to make room for fun a bit more. Now that the weather is nice we don’t necessarily have to hide in a café for wireless. We may just bring a pen to the park instead.
Why not pop a squat under a shady tree with Brontë, have a martini with Hemingway or a shot with Gertrude Stein. Not in the mood for something you craved in college? It happens. Dig up the garden with Secret Window just in case your tomatoes are hiding something sinister, water the lawn with Trinity and let Sinn Féin members emerge from the greenery. Throw a burger on the grill while listening to Lord of the Flies on your iPod and imagine you as the loin cloth wearing survivor that has dwelled within your soul since sixth grade. I love to recall the million afternoons spent under the looming oak in my childhood backyard, alternating between the pages of Harriet the Spy and my own notebook detailing my neighbors’ activities. Not that I would omit Koontz or King even then, or anything else I could reach on Daddy’s shelf!
You get the idea; its summer—anything goes. Whether it be a new indie on your Kindle or a papery treasure you discovered digging in the crates—go for it! Books and summer are like PB & J. They just go perfect together. Read on!