Saturday, 4 July 2009

Book-centric Memories II

Following planning this year's summer reading, I remembered what I read last summer. This time last year I was en route to Florida for three weeks in the sun, in Disney World and on the Gulf Coast. When I wasn't meeting Mickey Mouse, tossing an American football in the Gulf of Mexico, or having barbeques with my boyfriend's family, I was lying in the sun reading or cooling off indoors with a book in hand. Nostalgic today, I am envious of my own self a year ago; the closest I will get to reading on the beach this year is potentially a day trip to Brighton.

Last summer's book choices were perfect. I enjoyed them all immensely and the enjoyment of the holiday itself definitely influenced my enjoyment of the books and the pleasure I experienced in reading contributed to my overall happiness throughout the holiday.

From the photograph above you can see that I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, which I had received as a Christmas gift seven months previously and stored up as an ideal summer read. Before that I read one of my Waterstone's Summer 3 for 2 books (I love indulging in this offer for holiday reading), The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller (daughter of Arthur Miller and wife of Daniel Day Lewis; the motion picture due to be released this July), which was darker than I expected but had a witty and wise writing style that I really liked. I followed this up with the incredibly engrossing The Return by Victoria Hislop, which was published just in time a few weeks earlier, and like her debut novel The Island, is a wonderfully compelling summer novel. After the engaging but often bleak A Thousand Splendid Suns (but evocative of heat and sand, especially when lying in them), I discovered Jonathan Coe for the first time by reading the haunting and resonant The Rain Before it Falls (another of my Waterstone's bargains) during some tropical thunderstorms that aleviated the humidity somewhat. Lastly I read my free book from Waterstone's -the one I actually intended to buy- The Bastard of Istanbul by Eli Shafak, which was a consuming and often disturbing family saga set in Turkey. All of my summer reading choices were relatively light yet absorbing. I also discovered the best independent bookshop whilst on the Gulf Coast but I intend to devote a future blog post to that experience.


claire said...

I love that photo! This is the season I actually regret having taken on so many challenges for the year, as I need to pick up not a few titles that aren't at all summery. When I'm done with all the challenges (and I'm not joining any next year), I'll make it a point to read books that go with the seasons. The book I'm reading right now, though (The Impostor's Daughter) is perfect for summer, so at least. :D

Darlene said...

Perhaps you could get some friends together for an American-style barbeque or have a Mexican potluck dinner and try to recreate that holiday feeling. Salsa, nachos, guacamole dip - I can see it now! Seriously though, nothing really compares to reading in the summer as a kid when you haven't a care in the world - no matter what planet you're on.

Paperback Reader said...

Claire, thank you. The photograph holds fond memories for me and I am even using it currently as my facebook profile photo.
I enjoy setting my reading to fit in with the seasons, so hopefully your challenge reading will allow you more of the same.

Darlene, that's a fabulous idea! I want to recreate my holiday.
I used to love reading during the school holidays; you're right - there's nothing like it!

Nymeth said...

Sigh, one year ago I was getting ready to go to Brazil, where I stayed a month with my boyfriend's family. So I really understand being jealous of your past self!

All your summer reads sound like good ones, and like Claire said, that is a lovely photo of you :)

Paperback Reader said...

Ana, I'm jealous of your past self too!

Thanks for your photo comment :).
The summer reads were definitely summery but ideal choices.