The schools around me are out for the summer and that always makes my mind drift back to the days when school was finally over and I had freedom. I didn’t have to wake up to an alarm. I ate my breakfast in front of the TV and I waited until it was time to hit the town pool or go play with a friend. As much as even my young self liked structure, I loved not having to be anywhere at any specific time and I felt like I had the whole day to do what I wanted.
One thing I never had to be asked to do was read. Work on my multiplication tables, practice the piano, keep my room neat…those things I had to be told on a regular basis, but I was always more than happy to open a book. From the time I was old enough to read, I loved it. I loved being transported to a different place, a different time and being along for whatever was in store for the characters. I understood early on it was my escape from the real world and I treasured it.
Every summer there was at least one mandatory book that had to be read and then there was usually a suggested list of books too. My parents always preferred that I not only read the mandatory book but that I also read what was on the suggested list to broaden my horizons. Sometimes getting through those suggested books was a struggle, but I always did because I felt like reading was important.
The two books that changed my life pretty early on were “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton the summer before seventh grade and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee the summer before eighth grade. When I started to read “The Outsiders” I couldn’t figure out how the hell it was considered a classic. The narrator was babbling about I had no idea what and everyone had funny names…Ponyboy, Sodapop, Darry, Two Bit, Dallas. I had no idea what I was reading. Once I got past that though, I was glued to the pages. It’s a story of a group of boys from the wrong side of the tracks who are trying to do the best they can to hold their lives together and that means mostly relying on each other. They are disrespected by the rich kids and finally that tension comes to a boil and they fight it out. I loved how the book made a point of showing you don’t have to be rich to be good and you don’t have to be poor to be bad. Sometimes people are dealt a crappy hand but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about other people.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” was on a whole other level. I remember telling my dad I was struggling to get past the first chapter. The narrator was a girl named Scout and she was reflecting back on the summer when she was six years old and all that had happened in her small southern town. I couldn’t get over the fact that she called her father Atticus! No kid I knew ever called their parents by their first name…it seemed impossible to me. It didn’t take long before I fell in love with Scout’s voice. She had this honesty about everything she saw, the people she encountered and the things that ran through her mind. She was a girl who hated dresses and liked playing outside with her brother and getting dirty. I loved that she knew who she was and she wasn’t worried about what anyone else thought. This book hits on everything….racial issues, social issues, politics, family issues, loyalty, friendship, and knowing who you are and what you believe in. Scout let me know that I could always be myself and I didn’t have to explain it to anyone & I’ll always be grateful for that.
I don’t have a summer reading list anymore, but I still fall in love with books the same way. Now there are so many books I want to read and I just don’t have time to get to all of them! It doesn’t help that the authors in the contemporary romance genre are turning out books faster than I can blink and there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to read everything. Here are some of my most recent reads that really hit me in all the feels.
What are you reading? What books get you excited? Do you like to go back to old favorites in the summer or do you like to keep adding new books to your library? If you’re looking for something new, head on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and check out my book, “The One That Got Away”. A love triangle, second chance romance with two brothers fighting over the same girl sounds like a great summertime read to me! Whatever your pick, I hope you get to read lots over the next couple of months! Happy reading!