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?