A summer reading list is a must for preparing for the empty nest. Reading novels in the summertime became a habit when my kids were little. Each year we would visit the library several times during the summer break and choose books that were on the school reading list, as well as other fun books. While the kids chose their books, I would choose mine. Now, I read so much for research that pleasure reading has become sporadic at best. It’s different in the summer. And especially the summer when my kids are leaving the nest.
I’ve always loved a library. The quiet, the smell of leather-bound volumes, the studious atmosphere and the organization is comforting. It’s a world all its own. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Linn-Henley Research Library in downtown Birmingham. It brought back all the memories of when I was a child visiting our small town library in Trussville, AL, and the libraries that we’ve circulated in and out of with every move we made with our own children.
The first books I remember reading as a child were biographies. I loved reading about Betsy Ross, Florence Nightingale, Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller. I read every single book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, “Little House on the Prairie”. My reading horizons have broadened in that I will read most anything now, except horror or anything gory. I have never gotten into vampire lovers or warlocks. But… to each his own.
So what does an empty-nester read and how do you work it into an already-heavy reading schedule as a writer? I am developing, as we speak, a summer reading list as well as a plan to spend more time doing things that I love to do during the warmer months. Ahem…. that can be another post.
My summer reading list is as follows:
- Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mays – I began reading this while in Italy and plan to finish it during the month of June. The movie is one of my all-time favorites, but I heard on the trip that the book is so much better than the movie (which is often the case), that I had to start it while driving through the golden landscapes of Tuscany.
- A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance – by Marlena di Blasi. This is a true story of romance in the city that I’ve named “My First Italian Love.” Hope to read this through the month of July.
- In August, I plan to read The Paris Wife – the true love story of Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley. This had great reviews on Goodreads and seeing that it is about a literary great and his love, it should prove to be right up my alley.
- Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews will finish up my list in September. I discovered Mary Kay Andrews at an Author’s Luncheon in Fairhope about 3 years ago and have read her summer book every year since then. I learned at the luncheon that she writes one book a year that comes out in the summer for a fun read at the beach. Perfect for coastal living.
My first by Andrews was Savannah Blues which I am very proud to say is an autographed copy. I’ve also dearly loved the sequel, Savannah Breeze and then last years choice was Ladies’ Night Out, which has been my very favorite so far. She writes about all the things I love, like decorating, antiques, remodeling and of course there’s always a love twist.
I no longer make long lists with a book per week like I did when the kids were little. While I have much more time on my hands now, I find there is just so much fun to be had out there! I can’t fit that many books into a three or four-month period, anymore. Like so many other things in life, I’m finding that taking my time to enjoy a few simple things is much more enjoyable than cramming hundreds of things into small snippets of time.
So what are you reading this summer?