Sunday, May 18, 2014

Summer All Stars

Books have always been an important part of my summer routine.  I take ten or so books to my sleepaway camp every year, and, as I read them over and over throughout the seven weeks, I feel a huge understanding and love for them.  Here are a few of the books that I remember reading at camp over the years.  Summer reading for the win!
1.  Paper Towns by John Green.  The first time I read this, I borrowed it from a camp friend across the tent line and proceeded to keep it for the next three weeks.  It has become one of my favorite books.  I now own a copy and eagerly press it into the hands of friends, hoping that they'll love it as much as I do and keep it for a long time.
2.  The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare.  In preparation for my school doing this as the fall play, I liked to read this while sitting on my tent steps after swim, trying to brush my hair in a very literary way and feeling cool.  This is actually the only Shakespeare that I've read that didn't feel at all english-class-analysis-y.  It's actually funny ("she is spherical!") and very easy to understand, especially if you have the Folger edition.
4.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  This book defines the summer of 2012 for me.  I must have read this twenty times over the seven weeks.  It was hard to get into, and I almost gave up after a few chapters--imagine what I would have missed!--but once I passed the slow part I was enthralled by heroine Francie and her escapades as an impoverished Brooklyn child in the 1910s.  There is no reader, no matter how adverse to this type of book, that I would not recommend A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to.  It is that good.
5.  Sorry, Please, Thank You by Charles Yu.  Sometimes it can be good to have a whole summer to think about a book.  This is a collection of short stories that range from mildly confusing to incredibly, implacably random--yet they are masterpieces of writing and imagination.  I spent a lot of time last summer talking about these stories to anyone who would listen, trying to tease out the bits that I didn't get, and I actually do feel that I reached some sort of truce with these stories.  Thank god for long summers.
6.  The Princess Bride by William Goldman (or S. Morgenstern?  Can someone please explain to me who actually wrote this book?).  This was my tent group's bedtime reading as eight year olds.  Was it a little over our heads?  Yes.  Still, I come back to this book again and again as a favorite.  It superhumanly encompasses every genre imaginable, and I especially love the slightly sardonic way Goldman writes romance.
Go out on a limb and buy some books this month for summer.  It's much easier to focus on your reading when you aren't wearing long pants--I promise.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Recalling on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a great time to bond with your mom--if that involves the two of you walking four miles up the Hudson, so be it.  Today made me remember an important experience that I had as a little kid with my mom, which was reading together.  I recollected on the books we used to read and realized that all of them, even the small child books, are still favorites now.  Thanks, mom!  Here are the books that we read:
1.  The Winnie The Pooh books.  My favorite was, clearly, Piglet, hers was Eeyore.  "Thanks for noticin'." These books are gems.
2. The Mary Poppins books.  I've already raved about these, so I'm not going to do it again, but Mary Poppins is behind some of my teenage fantasies--if only I could sing a song and my room would just me clean!  Where do I get a Mary Poppins?
3.  Daddy Long Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster.  Amazing mother-daughter reads right here. Judy is lovable as a 1910s college girl in Daddy Long Legs, and in its not-quite-sequel Sallie takes on the role of an orphanage superintendent.  Both are epistolary novels, so I can definitely trace my fondness for those back here. 
4.  And, obviously, the Mother Daughter Book Club books by Heather Vogel Frederick.  There just kept being more and more of these, didn't there?  Wow.  
Happy Mother's Day, everyone!