Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Reading...and thieves?

I have a long list of books I've been meaning to get to, and I think this may be the summer I finally make a dent in the backlog. I'm in a reading mood. I have always been a reader, but my ability to read waxes and wanes. Before I had children, I read all the time. When my children were babies I could read for long glorious stretches while they nursed to sleep in my arms. For the past six or seven years it's been much harder to read regularly. There are always so many things needing my attention that even if I make the time to read, I can't relax because I am too aware of all that I am neglecting. I can justify time I spend crafting because I am being productive, but reading is something that is just for me, and it's hard for me to be that greedy.

My children are independent, rabid readers. We still read books together, but they each have multiple books going all the time. Quite often they are so enthusiastic about what they've just finished that they insist I read it, too. I am currently mid-way through the first Percy Jackson and the Olympians book, The Lightning Thief, at the recommendation of my son. I am also reading the first Sammy Keyes book, Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, at my daughter's insistence (and I just realized that a thief is involved in both books! Lots of pilfering going on in the literary world!). I need to finish those so I can move on to my own reading.

I miss the days when I could get lost in a long series, and I'd like to do that again. There is comfort in knowing what type of story to expect in a new book. I'm not a regular sci-fi reader, but one series I've been meaning to read is the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read a later book in the series, A Civil Campaign, when it was first published, because it was dedicated to Jane, Charlotte, Georgette, and Dorothy. Jane is presumed to be Jane Austen and Georgette is presumed to be Georgette Heyer, two authors I love, and A Civil Campaign definitely had the feel of a drawing room comedy in the spirit of a Heyer or Austen novel. So hopefully I'll finally get to that series this summer. I was definitely intrigued by Miles Vorkosigan in the one book I read!

I want to give Margaret Peterson Haddix's series The Shadow Children a try, too. I read one stand-alone book of hers, Running out of Time, a few years ago, and it was quite a page turner. Her books are categorized as young adult or teen, but I am not shy about reading YA and teen. Because they are shorter, they are written more tightly, and a lot has to happen in few pages. There isn't room for the author to have long, ponderous, pompous sentences with grandiose prose. (Anyone read Cold Mountain? Agh, I found that tedious!)

Another YA series I desperately want to read is The Hall Family Chronicles by Jane Langton. I purchased all of them a year or two ago, so they are ready and waiting for me whenever I can commit to them.

I also have The Book Thief (hey, wait, there's thief again! Something's up with that!) on my nightstand, and I'd like to get to it soon, although truthfully the fact that it is narrated by death puts me off a little bit.

My name finally came up on the library wait list for People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks, and I picked that up today. I've been waiting for it for months. Since there is still a long list of people behind me waiting their turn, I'll have to get to it soon. I guess that is where I will start my summer reading, and then I'll just have to make a decision about where to go next. I feel like a kid again, with a whole summer of possibility ahead of me!

What are you reading this summer?


Michele T. said...

I'm currently reading Strong at the Broken Places by Richard Cohen (Meredith Viera's dh who is a 2 time colon cancer survivor and has MS). It's about 5 people with (different) chronic illnesses. Interesting but it's been hard in spots. My next book is going to be the last Harry Potter book. I started reading the series after this last book was published, but usually read one or two books in between (and I don't read books quickly, mostly a few pages at night before falling asleep and waiting at drs. offices). Z. started reading them after me and is somewhere in book 5 but hasn't picked it up lately. She was reading the first few Ga'Hoole books for a while.

I just ordered a book by Kelly Corrigan called The Middle Place. i saw her speak (and read from her book) at the Wellness Community conference last week and her stories really moved me (she is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in her late 30's with young kids, while her father was going through his own cancer battles). I've been kind of into memoirs these day I guess, my last book was Marion Winik's The Lunch Box Chronicles- Tales from the Parenting Underground. I met her at a book reading a while ago and have been reading her books since. Interesting woman, interesting life. I don't think that I've read much in the way of series (besides HP and going through Marion Winik's memoir writing) for a long time.

WifeMomChocoholic said...

I love all those books -- Percy Jackson series, Shadow Children series, Sammy Keyes series, and The Book Thief!

If it weren't for audiobooks, I'd hardly ever get anything read. Right now I have Boom! (by Brokaw) in my van, a Dean Koontz book in my bathroom, and a teen book (Skulduggery Pleasant series) in my kitchen. With R I'm reading The Underneath (new kid fiction book), and on my nightstand is the first in the new Haddix teen series, Found.

Tricia said...

I've read quite a few of Jane Langton's mysteries (the Homer Kelly books) and have been meaning to check out her YA books (having noticed one in the stacks many years ago). Maybe it's time. I didn't realize she had a Michigan connection! (I also need to re-read her Memorial Hall murder mystery, since I saw the building on my recent trip to Cambridge!)