Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Summer Reading

By Martha Reed

I’m getting ready to go on vacation and one of the treats of leaving is to visit a bookstore and pick out two or three good books to take with me. I’ve written before of the family cottage we had with its back room full of shelves with musty old paperbacks stretching back a hundred years, so evidently I came by this trait honestly – I inherited it.

But I noticed something new during this trip to the bookstore. After I had carefully considered my reading selections, I categorized them and discovered that I had picked out one favorite author (Nancy Pickard, THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTENING), one historical or biographical offering (Nat Philbrick, THE LAST STAND) and one completely off the wall selection (for me at least) (Jonathan Maberry, THE DRAGON FACTORY).



Now, the surprising thing is that I had never before realized that I choose by category but as I think back over previous years’ selections I can see that that’s exactly what I do. I remember one year reading THE THORNBIRDS paired with a historical biography of the convict transport system to Tasmania and Australia; another year brought Rosamond Pilcher’s THE SHELL SEEKERS matched to a Victorian biography MAY AND AMY by Joceline Dimbleby.

Which begs a few questions:
  • Do you find yourself saving a special book for your vacation?
  • Do you have a favorite author that you like to take with you on vacation?
  • Do you have a genre or study topic that you don’t usually read but that you find yourself drawn to during a vacation?
  • What's the one book you most remember from a summer vacation?
Let's post the answers and see if there's any overlap!

25 comments:

Mary said...

I have no particular genre or way to choose for vacation. Whatever hits me at the moment.
Two vacations reads from long ago --Catcher in the Rye and How to Read a Book. Both in the summer of 1962.
Giggles and Guns

Martha Reed said...

Hi, Mary.

How about another question? How important is the book's cover to your decision? Do you look for one type of cover art over another for beach reading?

Ramona said...

I seem to go for one cracking good mystery/suspense and one funny/ ironic literary novel. So, for me, that's one Ruth Rendell or Matthew Pearl, and one Elinor Lipman or Nick Hornby. Tried and true. And then I throw in some new cozies because of my, you know, addiction.

Have a great vacay, Martha.

PatRemick said...

I usually pick something light -- like the latest Janet Evanovich -- but since I'm not taking an away vacation this summer, I did decide I needed a summer treat -- the new Tana French book! The idea of reading as much as I want for a week or so sounds so like a great vacation,though! Enjoy yours, Martha.

Laurissa said...

For some reason I usually don't read on vacations. I take whatever book I'm reading at the time, just in case if I want to read at night, but it rarely gets opened.

I guess it's because most of my vacations to date haven't been the relaxing/reading type. Usually a lot of sightseeing.

Martha Reed said...

Has anyone ever found an unexpected gem of a novel in a rental? That's how I discovered Dorothy L. Sayers. I found a paperback copy of Clouds of Witness in my teens. I was hooked! and looked what happened to me - now I write them.

Gina said...

I usually don't take books on vacation - I buy books while I'm wherever, which has led to a lot of local interest things that struck my fancy, including histories of Malta and Mexico, and a fascinating book on Queen Victoria's health problems and how they may have affected her reign. If I had just brought along the same kind of books I read at home, I would have never found these.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'm with Laurissa on this. I'm more of an adrennelin junky. If there's a beach I'm in the water snokeling or scuba, if I'm in the mountains, I'm headed up. I guess that's why I enjoy thrillers.

With that said, I'll take along the next thriller in my to be read pile, which is huge, by the way. I have a number of Vince Flynn's and Lee Child's.

My wife would save the latest Janet Evanovich, but as soon as she gets one, she's done with it.

Covers... I think a good one draws my eyes and entices me to pick it up and reand the back cover.

Martha Reed said...

Wilfred, it was a while back, but do you remember Alistair MacLean?THE WAY TO DUSTY DEATH? ICE STATION ZEBRA? WHERE EAGLES DARE? My grandfather had a whole shelf of them. Before I discovered DLS I consumed them one summer.

Annette said...

I rarely go ANYwhere without a book. My current summer read is WHACK-A-MOLE by Chris Grabenstein. It's one that I've been saving for a relaxing summer getaway. Since I'm not getting away, I've decided to take my non-vacation to the Jersey Shore by way of Danny Boyle and John Ceepak.

Jennie Bentley said...

My vacation book in July was Carla Neggers' "The Whisper." I also brought Evanovich's "Sizzling Sixteen" and Gena Showalter's "The Darkest Lie," neither of which I got around to cracking open. For the first time in my life, I have a TBR pile: books I've bought and haven't had time to read. I usually tear into them as soon as they come on the market, and these days, I just don't have the time.

Martha Reed said...

Jennie: what's keeping you from it? A new WIP?

Martha Reed said...

Annette,

I've heard great things about Chris Grabenstein for years. Have you started it? What's the consensus?

Ramona said...

Martha, I will chime in on behalf of Chris Grabenstein and express my love for the Ceepak mysteries.

One thing that's so great about them is that the author took the very ballsy approach of actually defining Ceepak, in chapter 1 of book 1, with a personal code. From that place forward, he had to write the character within in the confines of the code. I've read the books and he hasn't slipped up on that. It's admirable.

Plus, they're fun reads.

Annette said...

Jennie, I love Carla Neggers. This may sound odd, but whenever someone in my family is having surgery and I'm going to have to spend a long day in the waiting room, I always take a Carla Neggers book with me. I know she'll keep my mind in the story and off my situation.

Martha, this is the third of Chris's books that I've read, starting with Tilt-A-Whirl. I love them. It really is like taking a trip to the Jersey Shore. He's got the voice and the setting down pat. I don't much care what kind of trouble Danny and John are getting into, I'm happy to go along for the ride.

Annette said...

Ramona, I just love Ceepak's code. He can come to my rescue any time.

Ramona said...

Agree, Annette. And Danny is the perfect foil.

Martha Reed said...

That does it! Now I'll have to add another book to my vacation package (not to be confused with John Jarad's unit)...

Annette said...

Nothing should ever be confused with John Jarad's unit. :-)

Sorry. If you weren't at the Great Flood and Writer's Retreat, you simply will not get the joke.

Or maybe you will...

Michele Emrath said...

I don't choose by category for vacation, but I used to only read cheap and quick reads on airplanes--stuff that would keep my attention in the short-term.

Also, I have kids, so...yeah, I don't get to read much on vacation. :)

My favorite thing to do is pick up a soecial treat when I've deprived myself of new books for a long time. I recently received my preorder, 'Delicious and Suspicious' by Riley Adams (aka Elizabeth Spann Craig), and yesterday at the grocery store (weird, I know) I bought Wilkie Collins' 'The Moonstone.' So, a little earn and reward is nice.

A great question!

Michele
Romanticism today at SouthernCityMysteries

Martha Reed said...

Michele, I'm curious. What made you pick Wilkie Collins? That's old school. I've been on a classic kick lately - just finished Mary Roberts Rinehart's The Circular Staircase and found out she started by writing serials for the magazines.

I learn something new every day.

Joyce said...

Nice post, Martha!

I never have time to read on vacation. We're always too busy. We're either on a Civil War battlefield, a museum, or an amusement park. By the time we get back to the hotel, I crash until the next day.

Nevada Barr has a new book coming out this week that I'll definitely have to pick up. I have no idea when I'll have time to read it, though!

Btw, I'll have a post coming up soon about Mary Roberts Rinehart on the national SinC blog. I'm not sure when--you'll just have to read it every day.

Martha Reed said...

Wow, Joyce, you've got me curious. What triggered the blog on MRR? I'm beginning to feel like I have a good idea of who she was as a person and her autobiography is on my list.

I've been drawn in to battlefields because of THE LAST STAND promotion, and was surprised to find that Custer brought along his own publicist (who also died at Little Big Horn). Evidently this writer was trying to tie George Custer back to Homeric tradition (i.e. the Iliad). Can't wait to dig into this one!

Joyce said...

I'm on the new SinC blog team. The post on MRR will be part of the Women Who Made Mystery feature.

Jennie Bentley said...

Martha, DIY-5, tentatively titled Flipping Out! is due to my editor September 1. Between writing that, promoting A Cutthroat Business, and having two kids under 12 home from school all summer, I hardly have time to breathe.

Annette, Carla is a sweetheart. I met her last year at the Murder in the Magic City conference. I really like her Ireland/Boston series.