I read six books this past week. That is what summer means to me, time to read. Though this season no longer means the lazy days of summer, I some how find the time to read. It's just that important.
When I was a child, I would hop on my blue Schwinn bicycle and peddle to the local Eureka Carnegie Library. It was cool inside especially in the basement where all the children's books were shelved. I would spend hours perusing the shelves, maybe for the latest Nancy Drew. I was on a mission to read the entire series or maybe I would be brave and go upstairs as I was reading all the Louisa May Alcott books. If I found an author I liked, I liked to read their entire body of work. I still do. Back home I'd trek with my basket full of books. I could hardly wait until I could get up in my tree house to read my latest acquisition.
Recently I read Doug Crandell's "The Flawless Skin of Ugly People" and his latest "Hairdo's of the Mildly Depressed" as my book club, the Pulpwood Queens are having a book launch for "Hairdo's". What struck me about Doug's work was his ability to write such truths about subjects that were not lifestyles of the rich and famous or beautiful, but real stories about real people that made you really think about what truth and beauty really mean. I love to read books written in perspectives I have never read of before. I also am driven to want to read man's books who took a dermatologist on tour with him for his first book. I wonder what he will take on him with book tour for "Hairdo's". Hmmm, maybe me? For those who are first reading this blog, I am a hairdresser/bookseller, NOT mildly depressed!
I also just finished reading "The Shack" by William P. Young, mostly because my Sunday School teacher, Bill Smith, gave it to me as he wanted to know what I thought of the book. I gave him "God for President: A Parable About the Power of Love" by Lisa Venable as I wanted to know the same, what he thought of it. Now I just finished "Sins of a Father: The True Story of Kitty Chappell" as she is coming in for the Christian and Inspirational Book Festival I run called BOOKS ALIVE! as a fundraiser for my church's mission and outreach programs. Kitty stopped by my shop to meet me this summer and give me her books. I thank God that authors take the time to bless my doors. I am always amazed at their stories. All three of these books you cannot put down and again they make you think and then of course, make you can't wait to discuss and share them with others.
I read Sarah Bird's "How Perfect is That" then immediately became engrossed in Janelle Brown's "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything". Both books to me are cautionary tales of the times we live in, too much, too fast, too soon, and then the price to pay. Both books made me madder than a wet hen when I had to put them down to do a client's hair in my hair salon/book store, Beauty and the Book. But then again, I just do what I always do after I begin their cut, color, or style, I rave on and on about the particular book I am reading until they break down to buy a copy. I have yet to have someone write or call me later to tell me I made a big mistake. Most of the time, I receive an email or call telling me they loved the book I recommended. What else could I suggest they read!
I wept as I began Kathi Appelt's "The Underground", a children's chapter book about an abandoned cat and her friendship with an abused dog. Suddenly, I was ten years old again reading "Old Yeller", "Bristleface", "Rascal", and "Mr. Popper's Penguins. I hadn't cried over a book like that since Jack died in the Little House in the Prairie books or even when I read as an adult Willie Morris's "My Dog Skip". Kathi is a storyteller extraorginaire. You must share this with your kiddos.
I loved Robert LeLeux's memoir of growing up in East Texas, "memoirs of a beautiful boy" and Jacque Couvillion's "The Chicken Dance" set on an island off the coast of south Louisiana. You may have never heard of either of these southern authors, but you better start reading as I predict big things for both of these authors!
At this moment I have seven stacks of books each a yard high and nearly as many books bags crammed with books setting by my wingbacked chair for me to read this summer. A dauntless task, hardly, I can barely stand to wait, just like I do for the first taste summer blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and tomatoes. A virtual feast is set before me. I plan to dine in style with long, cool glasses of iced minted tea, lemonade, and bowls of ice cream. With gas prices keeping us closer to home, there is no excuse for not taking a great trip by reading a good book. So far I've been to California, New York, North Carolina, to name a few and yes, even East Texas with my arm chair traveling of reading books. My NEW Head Queen of The Pulpwood Queens' of Anchorage, Alaska just sent me a treasure trove of Alaska goodies including a book and magazines on Alaska. I can't wait to read and travel there, I can almost imagine the arctic summer air.
Denise Hamilton's new book arrived, "The Last Embrace" and I'm taken back to old Hollywood. A subject matter that fascinates me beyond reason and just received Doris Day's new biography, "Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door" by David Kaufman of which I have just started and is it good. I had just finished, "The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaugher's Search for Home" by Bibi Gaston which I found one of the most fascinating and intriguing reads ever.
Now wait, all those books do not add up to six books that I've read in the past week, they add up too.... Well, I never was good with math which reminds me of my favorite quote of all time, "The world is made up of stories, not atoms." to quote Muriel Rukheyser. Whatever they do add up to, all I know is that the correct answer is reading. Make this a reading summer, visit your local library or favorite bookstore. All the money you save in gas will profit you by learning more about others and even help you make some self-discoveries. The best trip I ever made was in reading a good book. I can share my adventure with my Pulpwood Queens Book Club members and YOU! Happy Tales to YOU and I would love to hear of your great book adventures too this summer. The best reads I have ever read have come from the recommendations of my reading friends. I would never have read "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden or "The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver or "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls if it had not been for authors, readers, and friends like you sharing their great reads. I hope you like mine and I look forward to hearing from you too!