The Next Chapter: Summer Reading, Had Me a Blast

Summer Reading

I did not grow up with a firm grasp on what constitutes Summer reading. I remember being 14 years old, I went away for a whole week at camp in Vermont cleverly called The Camp. It was out in the middle of nowhere. You had to go over covered bridges and farms to get to it. And what book, you may ask, did I bring? A heavy library copy of Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. Not a great idea when you live in a leaky tent. I think the next year or so we went to Cape Cod and while other people were reading such 70’s books like Jaws or The Exorcist, I brought Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I thought it was what the cool teens were reading.

This year I decided because I was moving that I wanted to take a break from reading more serious books and I read 3 books that I enjoyed that I might not normally read. I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone and read just to relax.

The first book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I have seen all the films and loved them all. This was the first time I read a Harry Potter book and I really loved it. I got caught up in the story, even though I basically knew what was going to happen. It was fun to see how Harry, Ron, and Hermione became friends and worked together on their journey together. The writing is excellent. I wasn’t in the mood to read the entire series, but I’m sure I will get to reading the more Harry Potter books eventually.

The second “beach read” was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It’s the story of Don Tillman, a genetics professor with Aspergers and OCD, who creates a survey for women to fill out so he can find a compatible wife. He calls it The Wife Project. Then he meets Rosie. She is completely wrong for him according to the survey, but he winds up falling in love with her. The book is very funny, but it was originally was going to be a screenplay and it shows. There are moments that seem to be out of a romantic comedy. I expected Meg Ryan to pop her head into Don’s office. Still, it’s a funny book that reads very fast.

The last Summer book I read was The First Rumpole Omnibus by John Mortimer. I am obsessed with the PBS shows I grew up with in the 70’s like “The Good Neighbors”, “I, Claudius”, and the original “Poldark”. Rumpole of the Bailey was based on the original books. Rumpole was a London barrister who quoted poetry, smoked cigars, and called his wife “She Who Must Be Obeyed”. The book covers some of Rumpole’s cases as well as the going ons in the law firm he worked for. Some of the stories might be dated but they are still worth a read. The stories are charming and very witty at times.

What are your thoughts on Summer reading? What do you usually read this time of year? I hope people are having a great time reading without getting a sunburn on the beach!

  • Howard Kogan

    Thank you! I enjoy your columns.
    I don’t really make a seasonal distinction when I’m reading either. Lately I’ve been reading a few Darwin biographies, one by Janet Brown, the other by John Bowlby.
    Both excellent. When I want something light, I pick a novel that’s on the Times best seller list or a Mann-Booker nominee. The later tend to be excellent.