But real life doesn’t always give us the The Lord of the Rings’ clear differentiation between good and evil. While Frodo had the support of many brave companions, we are often faced with people who, though they may be bosses, friends, or even family, might contradict what we know is right. But here, too, fantasy can provide relatable heroes who teach us and encourage us to stand up for justice, no matter what those around us say.
But what I finally sit down with almost always comes down to something else. Not that I necessarily know what that something else is—the book just calls to me. I answer in hope of a deep conversation.
I am tired of violence. I am tired of lies and hateful rhetoric. I am tired, but it’s not time to go to sleep. It is time to wake up. These three poetry collections are the antithesis of lazy summer reading. These books shun complacency. These are books to stay awake by.
Berry’s poem distilled the meaning of those four summers into the clarity of spring water cupped in my hand, and elicited poignancy like the hotspots my palm had sensed hovering over ash.
Is there a place for such stories--or even their subversion--when our politics are unpredictable, people live in fear of being scapegoated and harassed, and it seems the threat of a new war is around every corner?
For some reason, the books that stand out to me most carry along with them the memory not only of the plot, the characters, and the language, but the setting where I read them. Middlemarch is the name of the fictional town where the story takes place, and while I loved the setting – pre-Industrial Revolution, old English estates, country churches – it seems pertinent that I read it in a quiet place where the reaches of the sky and the ocean reflected the vastness of Eliot’s insights.
Zealot might not be the kind of book everyone would consider a “summer read”—but really, aren’t we past being limited to breezy love stories with no substance? This is a book that is worth all of the buckling down, you’ll need to apply to reading it.
There is a joy, too, in reading as adults, in the summer, at leisure. It is a luxury we rarely allow ourselves, sometimes only on planes or on vacation. But do you remember that stealthy act of reading, under the bed-tent, late at night, in the dark? Sometimes our world goes dark, and we need reading more than ever. Sometimes reading is our deliverance.
I measured the physical reality of my summer by the weeks in a non-weight bearing cast, the weeks in a boot with limited weight bearing, and my slowly increasing ability to move. My mental reality I measured by reading, most of which I had not expected to come my way. While I might have chosen mysteries anyway, now they were distractions of another kind.
by Laura Bloxham When I was in grade school I lived for summer reading programs at the local library. If I read so many books or so many pages, I could qualify for prizes. Usually the top prize was a ride through town on a fire engine. I qualified for that prize after the first … Continue reading Looking Back at Summer Reading