What is it about summertime that lures us into those delicious states of relaxation? I think Gershwin’s song says it all — “the living is easy.” In those balmy months we seem to stare into space longer, or nap deeper or approach our daily chores with a slower pace. It’s the call of the season. Slow down, take it easy, relax.
What I am leading up to is that this slower pace makes one of my favorite pastimes more accessible, more guilt-free, more enjoyable and that would be reading. Give me a good book, my most comfortable chair and the world stands still while I indulge in adventure, romance and others’ lives as I flip through the pages that take my mind wherever I want it to go. That is the beauty of reading!
Here is the second column of Book World for Summer ’19, and, as usual, our intellectual readers have shared their favorites. I am always excited about books that others have read and recommended, so I pass these on to you for your pleasure.
Karen Meller considers The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides a perfect example of the psychological thriller genre. Although he is better known for writing screenplays, this is the author’s first attempt at writing a novel, and in a word Karen calls it “wonderful.”
Theo Faber, the main character and narrator of the book, intentionally gets a job at a mental hospital because of his fascination with a patient, Alicia Berenson, who has killed her husband and has subsequently become mute. Faber wants to know why she committed the crime and why she has been mute for six years, a quest that leads him down dark corridors of the mind. A note of caution from Karen: “Read this when you have the ability to stay up late because you will not be able to put it down until you’ve finished.” Now that’s my idea of a summer book!
Onward to the place Where the Crawdads Sing. That’s the intriguing title of Oyster Pointer reader Chris Chance’s recommendation. And she blatantly admits that it’s the best book she’s ever read. Author Delia Owens has woven a tale about bravery, survival, abandonment and salvation by focusing on the book’s main character, a six-year-old girl named Kya, who has been left in the swamps of North Carolina by her parents. Kya educates herself and the reader about the ways and means of nature, its bounty and dangers, as the worst of human nature is revealed. This beautifully written book has recently been a regular on the best-seller lists. Doesn’t that tempt you?
Avid reader and regular contributor Allan Hanrahan has yet another outstanding read for us. Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt points the pen at himself in Teacher Man, his memoir of his 30 years as a school teacher in the New York City public schools. If this experience sounds like a nightmare to you, read on. This thoroughly enjoyable read offers gladness, sadness, guffaws and tears as McCourt chronicles those years with their triumphs and failures. While many readers most likely have never faced a classroom full of teenage students, all will have been students at some point and will recognize not only themselves but their teachers and administrators as well.
So, when you’re experiencing the “It’s a Beautiful Day” syndrome and want to take advantage of every moment of it, grab one of these recommended reads and give your mind a holiday. The best part of this choice is that you don’t even have to leave home. Your summer vacation can be in your favorite comfortable chair.