While I have had several work obligations this week, Monday is when I go back full-time. In honor of my last day of summer break, here is a quiet reminder of relaxing during the off-hours.
Tag Archives: summer
One of my husband’s aunts lives on a river outside of Baltimore. Besides being a truly wonderful, loving person, she and her husband have created a beautiful home. It’s a small house, but full of love; I always feel so welcome there. We had our wedding and reception in their backyard. I really love their house. This past weekend, we went up to visit and eat some steamed crabs (so delicious!). I spent a few minutes on their dock, soaking in the evening and taking some pictures with my cell camera.
I wish this picture was in a higher resolution. I took it with the Vignette Demo photo app on my phone. I need to buy the paid version since that takes higher res pictures. I absolutely love this shot and would frame it if it was high res.
Description from GoodReads:
Some summers are just destined to be pretty
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
I’m irritated at myself for letting this one fall through the cracks. I enjoyed Jenny Han‘s The Summer I Turned Pretty although it has now been 8 months since I read it so the details are fuzzy. I read it while on vacation in Nags Head and it was a fun beach read. Because of the title and the cover picture, I thought it was be fluffy, but it deals with some heavy issues. I liked the character of Belly, and I liked most of the people she is surrounded by. I could never really get into Conrad, though, and therefore the storyline involving him was not one I really liked. The rest of the novel, dealing with family problems and a looming tragedy that Belly is oblivious to (but the reader can see coming), drew me in.
I bought this for my school library and it circulates pretty often with the girls who enjoy realistic fiction.
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Since her parents’ divorce, Auden has lived with her mother, who is a professor and a successful writer. It is the summer before she leaves for college and Auden decides she needs a change of scenery, so she goes to live with her father (also a professor and a less successful writer), his young wife, and their new baby in a small beach town.
Growing up, both of her parents treated her like an adult, expecting her to be mature both personally and scholastically. Because of this, Auden did not experience a “normal” childhood. She never had close girlfriends, never attended a dance, never learned to ride a bike. The lack of experiences becomes evident when Auden begins working in her stepmother’s store. The three teens who work in the store are typical girls: they love clothes and boys, they dance around the store, they are comfortable in their age in a way Auden cannot relate.
For a long time, Auden has suffered from insomnia. To escape the daily routine, when she cannot sleep she roams the town, looking for places to get decent coffee and kill the long nighttime hours. It is in the night when she meets and slowly gets to know Eli, a local boy with his own burdens. The two of them decide Auden should experience the typical childhood milestones and set out to make it so. Auden also learns some things about family and friendships along the way.
Sarah Dessen has written another fantastic book. I love Auden, and I love that she’s not a stereotypical girl – very relatable. And I love that the other girls who seem typical on the surface turn out to not be so typical and teach Auden and the reader a thing or two about making quick judgements. Eli is adorable. The setting is crafted beautifully. While I was lucky to read this beach town novel while sitting on the beach, this is the kind of book you can pick up in the middle of February and be transported to July.
Ms. Dessen is skilled at writing books that deal with weightier issues without making it a heavy, depressing problem novel. If you’ve never read anything by her, this would be a great place to start! While the cover is eye catching, it is misleading about the characters – specifically Auden. I know I am echoing the sentiments around the internet when I say that whoever designed the cover must have not read the book.
4 and 1/2 stars
NPR is asking listeners to vote for their favorite beach reads. This isn’t based on literary value, just the best books to get lost in while on vacation. They took suggestions earlier in the summer and narrowed it down to 200 books, and now you can pick ten from that list. Voting lasts until July 29th, so hurry over and vote for your favorites! At first glance, the list is pretty heavy on the adult lit, with Harry Potter and Twilight being the only things that jump out as YA/kid lit. But there is a lot of great stuff on there! I’m personally pulling for Outlander, but that’s just me.
I’m going on a beach vacation in a few weeks and have been putting together my beach reading list. So far, I am planning to take:
- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (I read her first novel, Sharp Objects, a couple years ago and it is awesome!)
- The Likeness by Tana French (Her first, Into the Woods, is an amazing novel, and while I have heard this one just isn’t as good, I’m still willing to give it a shot.)
- Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
- Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen (I’ve only recently started to discover the awesomeness of Ms. Dessen, despite the fact that I have been recommending her books to my students.)
- Goat Song by Brad Kessler (An email newsletter I receive recently quoted the opening lines and they had me hooked. I do have a life-long affection for goats, which might have some bearing on my desire to read it.)
- Hello Goodbye by Emily Chenoweth
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (Her new one comes out in September and I have been slowly re-reading the series to refresh my memory. This was the most recent book in the Outlander series, my last to re-read. She quickly became one of my favorites after my friend Mere suggested her and I haven’t looked back since.)
- Infinite Jest by DFW (Can’t get behind in the schedule just because I am on vacation!)
8 books for a 7 day vacation might be a bit of wishful thinking. A couple are quick reads, but a could are long – if you know Diana Gabaldon, you know how long her books are. But it never hurts to be over-prepared!
Since we are into the swing of summer, do you have any books you must read this summer, or anything you have read already that you love?