Summer Reading

Summer again–the perfect time to do a bit of reading.

That’s what I think every year and yet, every summer comes and goes without me doing nearly the amount of reading I’d like to do. Usually I set a lofty goal of a book every two weeks, but that hasn’t happened since I could justify reading for hours on end as a university requirement. Now, between all the laundry, job searching, sewing, skill building, cooking, working, etc. it’s hard to find the time. In fact, I’m not sure if I actually read-read a book at all over the six months prior to the ol’ budget cuts at the school.

I do listen to audiobooks fairly regularly, though, and enjoy them immensely. There’s always the argument if it’s really reading to listen to an audiobook and while I am all in favor of them, it is a completely different experience from reading a book with your own eyes. I hadn’t realized it until this summer started and I have been making a more conscious effort to read paper copies of books that I’ve bought and never read. It’s slightly embarrassing to admit how many books I have on my myriad bookshelves that I haven’t read yet. The sheer volume of them keeps me away from Powell’s though, at least for a little while. My pocketbook certainly needs the rest.

I read The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, (buy it)and loved the way it made me think about my own life and about my children’s lives. How small things make big differences and the big sacrifices people make. I couldn’t help but compare my choices as a single mother to both of the Wes’ moms. The author’s mother not only moved in with her parents to have them help with the kids, but also worked two jobs and send the author away to military school. While part of me is awed by her dedication to making the cash needed for private school, I just don’t think it’s something I could do. I love being with my kids. I love the fact that I haven’t had to leave them to fend for themselves during the summer months (though this year, I’ve got my fingers crossed some job comes up before fall!). I don’t want to have either kid spend the majority of their year elsewhere, and certainly can’t imagine having sent them off before they even hit their teen years. But for Moore, it may have been the best choice. He’s successful financially, seems emotionally solid and has shelves of accolades, degrees and awards. I have to wonder, and maybe it’s just the guilt-lovin’ part of me, just what it would have been like for my kids if I’d sent them off to boarding school. Would they be more successful as adults? Who knows, really. Parenting is so difficult and each child has their own drive, personality and quirks that I really can’t say that what worked for Moore’s family would work for mine. But it has made me wonder just a little more about the effects of my choices for our family.

A fellow teacher recommended The Hunger Games by Suzanne Colllins (buy it) months and months ago, but I finally got around to listening to it in May. I’m not sure I would have actually sat and read it, thanks to a predisposition to ignore young adult fiction, but listening to it while I sewed was perfect. It is a long book, nearly eleven hours in audiobook format, but I got through it in just four days. And that is why I love audiobooks so very much. When would I ever find three hours a day to sit in a chair and read? I wouldn’t and won’t. Ever. But stick those little earbuds in and let me listen to it while I cut and sew and pick seams and I’m happy as a little clam. Especially when a story is as engaging and interesting as this one. I have to yet to listen to the next two of the trilogy (waiting for them to show up on audiobook at the library), but from what I’ve heard it’s more of the same great story-telling.

Currently, I’m reading the paperback version of Lit by Mary Karr. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get around to reading Karr since I’ve heard her praise for years now, but it took a sale shelf at Powell’s to get me to pick it up. And then it sat there for months, just waiting for me to pick it up and crack it open. Two weeks ago, I finally did. And while I love her writing, I have yet to love her. Parenting, and doing what I hope is my very best, is so important to me and to read how a mother can put alcohol before her child and before her marriage… well, I haven’t been enamored by that part. But her honesty and willingness to put herself out there, along with her magical way of writing memoir, has kept me reading. She’s coming around at this point and there have been enough redemptive moments, that I’ll finish it. And then I will read her other books, as well. Her writing truly is beautiful. Also available as an audiobook.

Next up? I’m not sure. What are you reading and would you recommend it?

2 Comments

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  1. 1
    Julie Grossnickle

    I’ve only read the Hunger games of the books listed, but I agree it was engaging!! The second book was equally interesting. The third was by far my least favorite, although there were very intriguing ideas. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.

  2. 2
    Teresa

    Julie,
    I’ve got the second book in my queue and plan to read it as soon as I finish “Lit,” something I find much easier said than done. I’ve heard the same from others that the third book just isn’t quite as good, but we’ll see.

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