Summer definitely ranks in the top four of my all-time favorite seasons. A large part of that is because of reading. The pace slows down and it’s easier to steal quiet moments with a book. And just in time for the beach, the taste-makers rush to anoint a new book as the Next Big Thing. In years past, I've shied away from those, but on occasion, I've joined the human race and more often than not was glad that I did.
A few summers ago, I was at the neighborhood pool where every third person was reading a copy of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” Ultimately, I succumbed to the novel’s omnipresence and my own curiosity and read it that very summer. Though not a typical “beach read,” with its brutal characters and a forty-year old murder mystery locked in the dead of a Swedish winter, it surprised me by becoming one of my favorite books, and ultimately, series.
Still, what fascinated me most at the pool that day was the idea of summer reading as a shared experience, not unlike a sporting event. Only with a book, you can experience the action at your own pace. And there’s no line for the bathroom. And you don’t have to pay for parking and the snacks are reasonably priced.
Also, you don’t have to sit through a game. With a crowd, which, I think we can all agree, is the worst. What I’m really trying to say is that I hate watching sports. And my analogies need work. But also that you can still experience a form of camaraderie with summer reading, without actually having to deal with other people. So, find a patch of shade, stretch out, and embrace your fellow man – at a comfortable distance – with a book. Preferably mine.
In the meantime, what “summer read” read most surprised you?
Bill Schweigart is the author of Slipping The Cable, a Coast Guard thriller and a true beach read, composed of equal parts sun, rum, and guns. www.billschweigart.com