Summertime. It has arrived a little early here in Texas, with temperatures already climbing in the upper 90’s this week. With the arrival of warm weather, I am reminded of all my childhood pastimes that summer brings with it… long, lazy days at the pool, playing outside in the yard until the “lightening bug” (or fireflies) come out, riding bikes around the neighborhood, eating ice cream or snowballs in the heat while they melt and drip down your hands making make them all sticky. The music of the ice cream truck driving down the block, the cold spray of the sprinklers as you run through the water, the sound of my stomach growling when I smell food being cooked outside on the grill; all of these things remind me that summer is on its way.
Ouch! Something just hit me in the back of my head! Oh, that was just the cold, harsh slap of reality that reminds that I do not get to experience all the usual pastimes of summer. I work in an office 5 days a week, behind a computer screen in an office that allows me to look out the window at the sun shining down on the world around me. But I don’t get to feel the warm rays on my skin. The only thing that changes in my office during the summer is the temperature; I wear warm weather shirts and dresses to celebrate the season then usually conceal them under a heavy sweater or jacket because it is FREEZING inside. Seriously, why does it need to be 5 -10 degrees colder inside an office building than what is comfortable for 75% of the people who work there? My home thermostat is set on 76-77 degrees in the summer – at the office I rejoice at anything above 68 degrees.
I have been in the full-time workforce for over 10 years now and I have accepted the fact that I can’t spend my summer days lying by the pool, but I still long for the lazy days of summer. One of the ways I recapture the feeling of summer is to spend my spare time reading. Reading was such a huge part of my childhood and a great way to escape the reality of the outside world. I remember going to the library and checking out 10 books at a time, then burying myself in the stories inside. Summertime meant that I was free of the strict schedule of school, the required reading and homework. I had more free time and I usually spent it with my nose stuck in a book. As I got older and went off to college, I would look forward to semester breaks and summertime so that I could get lost in the stories between the pages and not worry about if I should be studying. Summertime meant that I could read for days on end without interruption.
I remember my summer internship with Ashland Oil the summer after my sophomore year in college. I shared a small office with three other guys in the summer of 1995 – can you believe that at that time we only had 1 computer for the four of us? Anyway, the best part of my day was when I could escape those four walls during lunch. I would drive to the park, sit down on a bench under a tree and read for about an hour (and thaw out from the freezing temperatures in the office).
Since it feels like this summer is already heating up, I went to the library yesterday and checked out several books. As with summers in the past, I will keep a list of the books that I read between Memorial Day and Labor Day (the “official” start and end of summer). My genre of reading has changed throughout the years, from the young adult and teenage books, to thrillers, suspense, mystery, and of course the mindless romantic “chick” novels. I am also participating in my church's book club this summer (coincidentally called Chick Lit), and we are reading a wide range of books like: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriquez.
I challenge you to start a reading list this summer – and I will keep my list posted in case you need some ideas to get you started. By the way, let me know what you are reading that you just can’t put down, so I can add it to my list!
Current Summer Reading List:
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World - John Wood
Something Borrowed – Emily Giffin
Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert