Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Salon: The true start to summer and well traveled books

When does summer start? Does it start when the calendar hit June 21? Does it start when the pool opens on Memorial Day? Does it start when the temperature hits 70 or 80 or 90? Does it start when the bus disgorges the kids for the last time? For me, these are all harbingers of summer but summer truly starts for me when we head to our cottage up north. And heading on vacation always brings the book lover's biggest dilemma. Which books should be tucked into the crannies in the suitcases?

In my case, I am lucky in that I generally don't have to be too picky. We drive to the cottage and I set up my own little summer library in the drawers and under my bed and happily pull from this stash all summer long. But this summer there's a wrench in my usual plans. Because of R.'s dancing schedule, we will only have about 6 days at the cottage before she and I will have to come home for more rehearsals and Nationals. We will drive up, as usual, so I can stuff as many books into the minivan as the shocks can absorb but when she and I come home, we will be flying and the airlines do that mean and nasty checked bag fee (I won't even mention the overweight fee but sheesh, don't they know that books are heavy? I mean, duh!) so I'm facing a dilemma of financial proportions. Color me grumpy. We will be heading back to the cottage eventually so I don't have to bring everything home on the first swing.

The problem, and non-book folks will never relate to this, is that I want to take all of my intended summer reads with me on the first trip north so that I have all the choices I want that first week. But then I have to bring enough books back with me to keep me occupied during the 2-3 weeks I'm back here (not that my home library--minus the summer reads--isn't extensive enough to offer many a delightful diversion during that time but that's not my plan) and I'd prefer they be books I've earmarked for summer reading plus they have to fit in a carry-on bag or I have to fork over money to get them home. Oh to have such a silly, non-essential worry in your life, right? But it is perplexing to me.

I know that all review books will be heading north with me and any books I finish will be returning with me on the first trip but beyond that I am undecided what to take with me, what to leave, and what will be going up, coming back, going up, and coming back. Want to know a secret though? The hours I have so far spent pondering this have all been pretty darn enjoyable. Completely unproductive but enjoyable anyway.

And while I have made and re-made my travel lists, I did some more wonderful traveling through some books that no longer need to be considered for this vacation. This past week I watched in amusement when a pig unearthed a corpse in an Irish garden and everyone seemed to have a motive for doing the decedent in but a blarney tale explaining why the murderer was someone else. I witnessed the effects two drowning deaths had on a group of friends in Nantucket. I stood by as a former Austin socialite learned what real friendship is all about. I aarrr'ed with the Pirate Captain and his crew as he and Napoleon tried to outdo one another at every trun. I thought about a dashing mouse aviatrix and the sinister mystery surrounding her disappearance. And I was a voyeur on a movie set in New Orleans' fabled Storyville as the film's prim historian and its dashing director made movie magic of their own.

Check back tomorrow as I start my week of giveaways. It'll be at least a book a day to celebrate summer vacation (and to lessen the list of potential books needing to travel with me).

And finally, what marks the start of summer for you? Leave a comment on this post and you can have an extra entry on the upcoming giveaway of your choice.


  1. For me, I begin to anticipate summer as I watch the mountains of snow melt and fade away. I then become annoyed when the weather that I associate with summer comes for a day and then disappears yet again, not to return consistently even after the calendar tells me it's officially summer. As soon as we have a few days in a row of sunshine and heat, I begin to believe that summer is actually here and I rejoice!

  2. I'm a calendar girl when it comes to the seasons. Summer starts for me on the last day of school and ends when school starts back at the end of August. I grew up in the north where it wasn't warm enough for shorts until school let out. It took me a while to loosen up and let my kids, who are growing up in a warmer southern climate, wear shorts at the beginning and end of the school year.


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