Friday, July 1, 2016

Top Ten Reasons For A Summer Reading List

Happy July, Adventure Fans!

This the season for vacations, school breaks and the thrill of the grill.  It's also the time to catch up on summer reading with a ginormous summer reading list that covers everything from compelling thrillers to steamy love stories.  It's a perfect time to disappear into some other exciting world while your kids aren't screaming about how bored they are and you're silently praying for September to arrive.

As I sit on my perch in the sand I wondered why people make summer reading lists.  It's clearly a thing but why?  So here is my Top Ten List as to the importance of the Summer Reading List.

10. With the supposed advent of more free time you get to catch up on all the stories you wanted to read throughout the work year. 

9. It gives you a chance to maybe unplug from social media and tap into your own imagination.  You get to create entire worlds in your own mind, you own private movie, if you will.  That's an important de-stressing mental exercise in a world where individual creativity is often stifled.  

8.  People like lists. It makes us feel organized and in a chaotic life, that's something we don't really get enough of.  It gives us a sense of control.  

7.  It creates a goal we are actually happy to achieve.  Work and life goals are nice and all but they can be tedious and a grind.  Especially if we deviate from our list, wander, get lost or lose sight of the goal.  A reading list is easy; pick a  handful of books you want to read and tear into the pages while sipping your favorite libation by a pool or on the beach.

6. We get to spend time with ourselves. Life has us connected at all times to everyone and everything around us.  Social media makes us constantly aware of all the fabulous things our friends are doing
(without inviting us) that they may or may not actually be doing.  Work keeps us busy with projects and meetings.  Parenting eats up the rest of that time and attention.  There's little time for us to be, well, us.  A reading list, a series of books we've been dying to get to gives us the time to decompress and think about some fictional problems for awhile.    

5. We don't have to think about the important things in our lives that would otherwise collapse without our constant attention.  Even though a lot of us work for someone else, we are all really working for ourselves.  We work for our families, too.  Sometimes we want to disappear into a good book but we can't.  The advent of summer leisure time gives us those moments, in theory, to be alone in our heads.  

4. A summer reading list is great for ambitious book clubs.  It's a perfect time to catch up on the books that slipped by and gather with friends to pontificate on your theory of whodunnit of if the happy couple will stay together or if that charming cowboy vampire chef billionaire will break them up.  

3. No one reads anymore!  Congratulations, you're part of a special breed.  That makes you unique among your peers.  You actually took the time to read something longer and more engaging than a facebook post.  

2. In conjunction with the previous point, we all like to feel we are part of something important.  More important than say, people who know what marriage  a particular reality tv celebrity is on.  Being a reader sets us apart since most people don't do it and those who don't seem to look up to those who do as if they've discovered some exclusive magic talent.  

1. The number one reason reading lists are important; reading makes you a better person.  The more you do it, the more creative and imaginative you become.  I know I really don't have to say this  to avid readers but reading opens your mind to new ideas and situations.  It gives you a perspective outside your own little world.  It makes you a better thinker and a better dreamer.  This life can beat the dreams and creativity out of the best of us.  Investing the time and effort into a new story opens our creative channels, makes us think critically and independently and in this writer's opinion, there can never be enough of that. 

In the spirit of sharing, here's my list for this summer with story descriptions culled from the interwebs.  Being that I write and paint for most of my living, I don't have the time constraint of a 9 to 5 job but, as you know, there's something about setting at the shoreline listening to the crashing waves while delving into the pages to set your mind free... 

The Guns of Heaven by legendary New York reporter Pete Hamill.   On a visit to Northern Ireland, newspaper reporter Sam Briscoe meets with a mysterious IRA leader and agrees to deliver an envelope to his supporters in New York City. It’s a decision with grave consequences—not just for Briscoe, but for his 11-year-old daughter as well. Because the bloody Irish conflict is about to come to the streets of New York, and Briscoe is the only man standing in its way... 

The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes - The unexpected arrival in England of a giant "metal man" of unknown origin who rains destruction on the countryside by attacking industrial farm equipment, before befriending a small boy and defending the world from a monster from outer space.

Big Sur by (Saint) Jack Kerouac - It recounts the events surrounding Kerouac's (here known by the name of his fictional alter-ego Jack Duluoz) three brief sojourns to a cabin in Bixby Canyon,Big Sur, owned by Kerouac's friend and Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  The novel depicts Duluoz's mental and physical deterioration. Duluoz is unable to cope with a suddenly demanding public, and is battling advanced alcoholism.

For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway - Ppublished in 1940. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.

The Lathe of Heaven - This is a 1971 science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. The plot revolves around a character whose dreams alter reality, including past events.
Ernest Hemingway On Writing edited by Larry W. Phillips - An assemblage of reflections on the nature of writing and the writer from one the greatest American writers of the twentieth century.

So, beach adventure seeker, what's on your list? 


  1. #3 LOL You gave me a chuckle. I don't make reading lists. I just read something when the mood strikes me...and it's usually smutty trash :D