When Sylvia of Artsy Ants posted her summer reading list a few days ago, my heart went into full-on carnival mode. Or maybe county fair mode? I’m talking lights, bells, cotton candy, Whac-A-Mole, carousel horses and giant Holsteins, demolition derbies and dripping ice cream cones on hot summer nights with nowhere else to be. I guess what I’m saying is I felt happy. Things have been Oh So Serious around here. Happy sure is nice.
Like Sylvia, I used to devour books. I was the girl who had to have a book with her in the car if we were going anywhere further than the stop sign at the head of our street. When I was 12 I could think of no greater misery than making the two mile trek to the grocery store while my book sat at home on the kitchen counter. When I was 12 I could not tell my grandma how to get to said grocery store, TRUE STORY, because I didn’t make that kitchen-counter mistake often.
These days, though, I’m still figuring it out. Five books by the end of the summer sounds pretty ambitious, really. But I just finished The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times, by Jennifer Worth, and I guess I’m feeling a little cocky. I loved it, so much. It made me think about motherhood, and also about the family support work I did in Pittsburgh and Peru and New York City before coming to farming. And it was just a wonderful read. Being lost in a book is such a profound pleasure. I want more!
So here we go, in no particular order:
Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns. I actually started this one a couple months ago, but set it aside when I found The Midwife at the library. I can’t wait to get back to 14-year old Will Tweedy and his take on a family scandal in a small town in 1906 Georgia.
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, by Kim John Payne, M. Ed., with Lisa M. Ross. I was reluctant at first to put a parenting book on the list. I’ve been trying pretty hard recently not to read parenting advice (exceptions made for books and articles with a Buddhist or mindfulness slant). There’s just too much of it. And while plenty of it is compelling, I’ve grown weary of all these voices who seem to think they know best. I’m ready to quiet the din. But this one has been perpetually on deck for the last couple of years, and I’d like to give it a go.
A Circle of Quiet, by Madeleine L’Engle. I do love me a memoir. And I do love me some Madeleine L’Engle. This is the first book in a 4-part series.
Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970, by Richard Brautigan. I picked this book up a few years ago mainly because of a Brautigan quote my friend Wesley had on her (former) blog: “Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords.” I really think it might have been that quote that first made me sure Wesley was someone I needed in my life. (I was spot-on, by the way. She’s wonderful. My life is so much better for knowing her. Let’s talk more another day about the good stuff that happens when people we meet online come into our real lives.)
Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume 1), by Julia Child. No, I’m not going all Julie and Julia on y’all! But I would like to know (at least some of) my (many) cookbooks better. There are so many I could pick from, but Julia seems maybe the best place to begin. She has never led me astray. And for all my confidence in the kitchen, I’m often struck by how many French basics I don’t know. I aim to try five new-to-me recipes from this book this summer.
I’ve stacked the odds at least somewhat in my favor, in that I already own all these titles, but this is a 100% guilt-free list. If I don’t make it through all five books, or if I get distracted by some other wonderful volume – so it goes.
What about y’all? Did you finish anything good recently? What are you reading now? What’s on your library hold list or bedside table?