Why summer, if not for spending long, lazy afternoons in a gently swinging hammock, absorbed in one great book after another? Especially when those books hold a universe of magic, mystery, adventure, play, romance, reflection, or simplicity – the very essence of summer. Here are a few summer books for boomers worth rereading. Timeless treasures, reading pleasures . . .
Who doesn’t love a little magic in her life? Conjure up the spells of Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling’s world – Serpentsortia! Imperio! – or inhabit Middle-Earth with elves and hobbits in Lord of the Rings for pure escapism and fantasy. Rediscover the value of friendship, loyalty and heroism no matter the cost or consequences.
It’s easy to immerse yourself in the world of Donna Leon’s mysteries. Her series features the beloved everyman, Commissario Guido Brunetti, whose crime cases deal with truth, justice and the Venetian way. Leon paints a convincing portrait of a man caught up in social issues of the day against the backdrop of a loving family in a city of irresistible beauty.
Summer days inspire us to slow down and play. Make your own fun with games that dreamers play in The Three “Only” Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence & Imagination, a non-fiction guide to living your life out loud by dream archeologist, Robert Moss. The author counsels, “Dreaming is less about sleep than waking up” and “The time is always now.” Sometimes life rhymes . . .
For wanderboomers, tales of swashbuckling adventures flash back to Robin Hood and his merry men or thrilling stories of pirates sailing the wine dark sea. Maybe that’s why I find Patrick O’Brien’s series of Jack Aubrey novels so comforting and compelling. Aubrey’s sidekick is the ship’s surgeon/naturalist, Stephen Maturin. The story of their friendship while serving in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars offers both heartbreak and inspiration.
I love a good beach book (engaging, escapist, quick read) as much as anyone. But for the lasting pleasure of a literary romance, I turn to Love in the Time of Cholera by Noble prize winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, every time. How long would you wait for the love of your life? Would you wait fifty-one years, nine months and four days?
With stretches of unstructured summer days (Yes, I can dream) comes time for reflection. In her memoir, Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh muses on the meaning of what matters most. By sharing her thoughts on work-life balance, motherhood and marriage from her own life experiences, she inspires gratitude, grace and tranquility.
Even with limited downtime, my summer reading plans always include a book of poetry. Why? Because a good poem suspends a moment in time that captures a special mood or feeling. We identify with how it feels to fall in or out of love, become a parent or face middle age, delight in the sight of a deer in the woods or choose which of two roads that diverge there. A good poem can be read, remembered and cherished for crystallizing an extraordinary or everyday universal experience. Recommended volumes include Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems, Volume Two and Caroline Kennedy’s She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems.
What’s on your reading list this summer, wanderboomers? What are your go-to books every year?