Summer Reading Lists

Lately, the talk of the library has been the Summer Reading Programs for both children and adults. But this week I want to take on something a little different: summer reading lists.

Most bibliophiles are likely to have an ever-constant, ever-growing To Be Read (TBR) list. But for those die-hard bibliophiles, one list may not be enough. While it may sound odd, I believe there are certain seasons for certain books. For instance, I am less likely to read a 1,000+ page biography of Sylvia Plath in the blaze of summer. For me, heavier books (both in weight and substance) are meant for cold winter days when I can curl up in a blanket with a cup of tea in front of a fireplace. No, to me summer is meant for lighter books about travel and romance; something I can easily pick up and put down while out and about or lazing in my hammock. The idea of books being meant for certain seasons likely stems from my mother, a lifelong reader and faithful patron of her local library.

My favorite summer reading spot is Hacienda Brewing Co. in Milwaukee.

Every summer, my mother reads Hotel Pastis by Peter Mayle. Mayle, being one of her favorite authors, occupies a large space on one of her many bookshelves. Every time he releases a new book she says to me, “Mayle has a new book out, I need to get it.” And yet, she still checks out Hotel Pastis from the library. Growing up, I’d always see the book in the back seat of her car, where she’d leave it so she could read it on her lunch breaks at work. I’d ask her two questions every summer: 1) “Why do you always read that book?” 2) “If you read it so much, why do you keep checking it out from the library? Why not just buy it?” As I got older she’d usually answer both with a simple, “Because I can,” but early on I got something a little more elaborate. To the first question, she’d answer along the lines of, “Because it’s one of my favorites. It isn’t really summer until I read Hotel Pastis.” And to the second she would say, “Because I just like checking it out from the library.” Thus, from a young age she established in me a sense of books being meant for certain seasons, as well as a summer reading list.

A couple of times in the past, I’ve haphazardly thrown together a small pile of books I thought I’d maybe like to read that summer. Recently, however, I’ve started making more intentional lists, likely due to my devotion to Goodreads. Having just completed my most recent TBR by finishing Barack Obama’s A Promised Land, I’ve finally set myself upon my Summer List. Made up of a diverse range of genres, there’s everything from romance to travel to mystery. Two of the books are long-time favorites which I’ve read before and keep coming back to, one being The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which seems to be to me what Hotel Pastis is to my mother. The other is Pride and Prejudice, whose first line always sits in the back of my mind: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

But of course, of the fifteen books on my list, the one I’m most excited to read, and the one which I will be checking out from the library, is Hotel Pastis.

If you’re interested in what my summer list looks like, you can take a peek below:

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