Summer is for reading

Ah, summer: swimming, s’mores and… lots of reading.  It does not come as a great surprise to me that I find myself telling my 8 year old daughter  “At least go outside and read.” In fact, I felt a bit of a time warp, as her grandmothers had said the same thing to her Dad and I.  One of the great pleasures of summer vacation is time- time to play, time to read , even time to get bored.

It’s an odd assemblage, but here is our family’s current reading list:

After reading an essay by Nancy Bachrach, I decided that Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann would be my oddball read for this summer (last year it was Casino Royal by Ian Fleming). Valley of the Dolls fits the bill for good pool side reading: glamorous, gritty and not too taxing on the brain. I’m finding the book oddly compelling- like a slightly dirty window into a slice of showbiz cultural history.

Thanks to my sister, I am also reading The Mitfords: letters between six sisters edited by Charlotte Mosley. Covering their whole life, the book explores that colorful existence of the Mitford sisters through their correspondence to each other. From Nancy (an author of several books such as In Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate – favorites of mine) to Diana ( a lifelong fascist who spent most of World War Two interned in prison) to Deborah (who married the Duke of Devonshire), the sisters’ letters show complex and intelligent  personalities.

Recommended by a friend, hubby is reading Wine and War: the French, the Nazis and the battle for France’s greatest treasure by Don and Petie Kladstrup. While Adolf Hitler may have had no taste for wine, others in the Third Reich must have because when Germany occupied France during World War Two they appropriated vast amounts of the countries wines. Some vintners in subtle and daring ways committed acts of resistance to save the grape and part of the essence of what it is to be French.

Having recently finished reading the final Harry Potter, my daughter was mopping around about not having anything good to read. Suddenly, books were “too short”.  We just started reading The Amulet of  Samarkand book one in the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud and are loving it. It’s witty, smart and presents a strangely compelling magical world (it reminds me of one of my favorite books Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell ).

Happy reading!

~Diane

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