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So, um, what exactly is a “summer read”?

July 5, 2011

People always talk about “summer reads” and I just realized that I have no idea what this means. Do some people only read books in the summer? Do people theoretically have more time in the summer and are therefore able to read more? Does “summer reads” describe a type of book, maybe something light and uncomplicated because no one can be bothered to think in the summer?

This summer I’m reading the same kinds of books I usually pick up, sprinkled in with some random things recommended by a friend or that I saw at the local bookstore or heard about on NPR. Here’s my list of what I plan to read in the next few weeks. What are you reading? And if you have any insight on this “summer reads” thing, please let me know!

      • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – Next book club book
      • One Day by David Nicholls – Highly recommended by book club friends
      • What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell – I loved Blink and The Tipping Point. I’ve read of few of these essays already.
      • All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Macdonald – A friend recommended this and although it sounds really very sad and dark, I plan to tackle it.
      • Pym by Mat Johnson – Heard about this on NPR and it sounds really different.
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 2:44 pm

    In no particular order:

    The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy
    The Gun
    Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer
    Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football’s Greatest Battle
    More than a Game (Billick)

    Enjoy your reads, friend!

  2. Dylan Charles permalink
    July 6, 2011 7:16 pm

    The last two books I’ve read have been pretty bad and made me angry, so I’ll refrain from mentioning those. But I’m reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman now and it seems good so far.

  3. July 8, 2011 10:27 am

    I always thought of “summer read” as Chick Lit – the sort of thing you’d take to the beach, full of romance. Except, how much time to most people really spend at the beach, even in the summer? First, you have to live near the beach, or take a vacation there, in which case your time is limited by your wallet. So yeah, the summer reading thing is pretty bewildering.

    I have noticed, however, that a lot more people are googling stories from BASS since the middle of June – I’m not sure what that’s about. At first I thought it might be summer school, or a summer semester, but it’s very consistent, strongest on Mondays. Interesting, maybe a reading group.

    Me, I’m reading the PEN/O.Henry 2011 collection, Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged Everything Burned collection,I have DFW’s Oblivion collection (I’m focusing on short stories these days, can you tell?) and Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter, which someone recommended a while back but I don’t remember who or why, I just saw it on the Used shelf of my local bookstore and snapped it up. Oh, and Nalini Jones’ What You Call Winter, another collection, it’s a collection based on a character she used in the One Story volume from a few weeks ago. And I have some other prize collections sitting around. Wow, even to me that sounds like a lot – hey, what am I doing fooling around reading blogs, I’ve got to get reading!

  4. July 10, 2011 6:16 pm

    Thanks for the comment Kim. I think of summer reads as being something that started out for children, but maybe that’s because I work at a library. The children’s and young adults librarians spend months putting together lists of books for each grade that they recommend for the kids to read every year. Some are classics and some are new…and some are the ones on the required reading lists. That being said, I also think of them as being light beach reads…like The Nanny Diaries. Its funny though, I’d never actually thought about a definition before:)

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