Editorial: Sweet Summer Reading By Hilary Williamson (July 2008)
I've been noticing reviews lately referring to various books as great summer reading. I wondered what makes a book qualify, so I asked BookLoons reviewers ...
My own take - a sweet summer read is undemanding. It doesn't glue my eyes to its pages but permits me to periodically look up from my hammock to watch a bird soar across the sky, treetops sway in the wind, or a loon dive into the lake. I enjoy an excellent YA read in the summer and recommend Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers: Summoning (a must read for Women of the Otherworld Fans) and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Magician by Michael Scott for all those who were pulled into Harry Potter's world and have been missing the summertime magic.
Hilary Danninhirsch muses: 'A summer read, for me, is a feel-good book, one that doesn't tax the sundrenched brain! I just finished The Lottery by Patricia Wood, which was fabulous, and falls into the summer read category. A can't-put-down mystery is also good for the summer, and one that stands out is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.' Theresa Ichino tells us: 'So many problems in the world - summer is a break. So for me, a good summer read is escapism, and it can take many forms: another planet, a fantasy world, a "cozy" mystery, a well-wrought (if unlikely!) thriller.' Theresa recently escaped off-world with Tanya Huff's Valor's Trial and enjoyed the thrills and chills of The Judas Strain by James Rollins back here on earth.
Belle Dessler says 'My ideal summer read is light and fluffy. I don't want to think too hard while the sun's beating down on my head, but I do want to be swept away to a fantasy world far removed from my own.' Similarly, for Lyn Seippel 'A good summer read should be fast paced, fun and not too serious' - Lyn recommends From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris. Ricki Marking-Camuto agrees that 'A good summer read lets you escape, is a fast read, and does not require a lot of thinking' - she recently enjoyed Superpowers by David J. Schwartz. Josephine Locke finds that just as summer temperatures vary, so do her tastes from cool, easy-breezy reads with fast flowing words to hot pounding drama and simmering romances. Her summer reading recommendations range from The Girl With No Shadow by Joanne Harris to Star Wars interplanetary adventures and YA titles like Dean Lorey's At The Firefly Gate and Da Chen's Sword.
For Deb Kincaid summer reading means a change of genre: 'Because I work with nonfiction all year long, and my writing consists primarily of magazine service articles - nonfiction again, a good summer read to me is getting comfy in my deck chair with a glass of sweet tea and reading one of my favorite fiction authors like Maeve Binchy or James Michener, authors whose books are quite long and which I typically never have time for - except in the summer. I enjoy poetry collections, too, because I sometimes in the summer actually have time to ponder them.'
And Alex Telander muses, 'For most, summer reads involve quick, hot reads; in my case I seek out the opposite: long, cold, complex books. This summer, take a unique trip to the Arctic and discover what it is like to survive in this wasteland where one has little other than the harsh white ice and snow to keep them company, in Dan Simmons' The Terror.'
On the other hand, Joan Burton says: 'I find the term "summer reading" foreign. Being an avid reader and lover of books my reading habits don't change from summer to winter. If a title catches my interest I read it regardless of the season.' Joan recently enjoyed The Beach House by Jane Green and The Richest Season by Maryann McFadden.
Rheta Van Winkle agrees with Joan, commenting: 'Any good novel is a good summer read, as it is a good winter, spring or fall read. I don't really get why summer is a better time for reading books than any other season. That said, since they all came out in the summer, the Harry Potter books were terrific summer reads. We had to have them right away when they came out, after all.'
So there you have it, our loons-for-books perspective on sweet summer reading ... magical adventure; a feel-good book; a can't-put-down mystery; fast paced, fun, not too serious; light and fluffy; escapism; a change of genre; same old, same old; and back to magic again. Whether you're swinging in a hammock, lazing on the beach, or sunbathing on a balcony, we wish you the best in reading all through a magical summertime!
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.