How Do You Define Summer Reading?

Woman on Picnic

Now that summer is nigh, I’m thinking about what I’d like to read over the next few months. I have not yet decided. But at least now I can choose for myself.

At my college prep school, we were assigned summer reading. To enter eighth grade, we were assigned The Ox Bow Incident and Pride and Prejudice. This went for boys and girls. I’m so glad, because I never would have read The Ox Bow Incident if not required, and no doubt the boys never would have considered Jane Austen. Oh, and we had to read two more books, but I don’t remember them. Whoops. And yes, there were tests.

But I do remember that over the years we had to read East of Eden, Moby Dick, and Les Miserables, among others. Les Miz, weighing in at about 1,500 pages, was assigned to those of us entering 9th grade. When I told my teacher I would have been less miserable if I hadn’t had to read it, she was not amused. Oh, and we had to read three other books that summer, too. And yes, there were tests.

I did read Gone with the Wind, 1,200 pages, on my own, though. In seventh and then in eighth grade. Twice. So I developed a love for very, very long books, such as And the Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer, and The Wheel of Fortune by Susan Howatch. I literally had dreams about Susan’s characters.

I don’t suppose many of these qualify as traditional summer reads, but I’ll never forget them.

Your turn:

How do you define summer reading?

What is your favorite book you’ve read over a summer?

Name an unforgettable book you have read.

What do you plan to read this summer?

7 Responses to How Do You Define Summer Reading?

  1. Avatar
    Penny Zeller May 22, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    Great post, Tamela. Love, love, love summer reading! We Zellers are avid campers and love to take a book to read around the campfire in the evenings after we’re pooped from hiking, canoeing, and ATV riding, or during the early mornings before we have breakfast. One of the books I am taking on our first camping trip and can’t wait to read is “Woman of Courage” by Wanda Brunstetter.

    There is nothing like lounging around the campfire in God’s beautiful Creation with the birds, moose, and pine trees, surrounded by those I love most with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate in hand! 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Jeanne Takenaka May 22, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    Tamela, you read some seriously long books! We had to read some of the other classics, like Silas Marner and The Scarlet Letter. But I have yet to complete Les Mis, as much as I love the story.

    For me summer reading is whatever I can read while also keeping up with my kiddos. Take it to the pool, to other places we’ll be hanging out. I have a few hundred books on my Kindle, and I’m certain I’ll read some of those. I also have a huge TBR pile. I hope to get through some of those. I’ll be reading fiction and craft books this summer. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Amy May 22, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    I love summer reading. I usually save my most ambitions reading goals for the summertime – I don’t know why, but it seems easier to tackle a massive classic during the lazy days of July. This summer, I’m going to try to read through Anna Karenina. We’ll see how that goes. But I’ll also probably read plenty of lighter beach-reading type titles.

  4. Avatar
    Jim Lupis May 22, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Isn’t summer reading great, Tamela? I was recently on vacation in Florida and was impressed by how many people were reading books around the pool. Last summer I read “Bonhoeffer” by Eric Metaxas, and really enjoyed it.

  5. Avatar
    Wendy Macdonald May 22, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Tamela, thanks for mentioning Gone With the Wind. My daughter and I just watched the movie again last weekend. We both loved the book. I think it’s time for me to reread it.

    Scarlett makes me so mad–but I just keep reading anyways. The author sure knows how to get her protagonists in trouble.

    Summer reading is a book that you just can’t put down.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  6. Avatar
    Jackie Layton May 22, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    After going to summer school during college in order to graduate faster, I only like to read fun books in the summer.

    We just got back from vacation last week, and my 21 year old son joked that we should have had a contest who could read the most. He read three books, and I read four.

    Before the summer is over I want to read Melissa Tagg’s new book, Beth Voght’s new book, and Brandilyn’s new book. Plus I hope to find time to read many more.

    What are you reading this summer, Tamela? Have a great summer!

  7. Avatar
    Linda May 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    I love posts and comments filled with suggestions for great summer reading. For me, it’s anything set by the ocean. If I can’t get there myself, I at least need to visit vicariously. Any ideas?

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