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Summer Reading Club

When I was little, one of my favourite things about summer vacation was participating in the Summer reading club at the public library in my hometown.  (Nerd alert, am I right?)

It was so much fun to race through as many books as I could make library trips and to see all the stickers fill up my section of the chart that the librarians made on a big piece of poster-board every year.  I loved combing through the new books in the children’s and YA sections to find selections for my reading list, though, to be fair, it was often less like careful combing and more like supermarket sweeps.  I was heartbroken when I finally aged out of the club’s bracket, because it meant no longer having that chart/stickers/sense of accomplishment for reading more books than the other kids to look forward to over the agonizing stretch of time between the last day of school in June and the first day back in September.  (As I said, nerd alert.  I loved school.  I loved learning.  I loved books and paper and chalk and the hum of being surrounded by my peers, and also fry like bacon in the sun, even with sunscreen, so summer vacation wasn’t something that I truly appreciated until I was in my mid-teens.)

Recently, I started patronizing (re-patronizing?) my local public library.  They have a great online system for holds that’s really easy to use, so I can have just about anything from the catalogue forwarded to the branch closest for me to pick up.  One step inside the cool, air-conditioned space and a whiff of that particular paper-and-silence perfume had me remembering the summers of my childhood.  I was practically giddy by the time I plucked my holds off the shelf, brimming with excitement over all the books I could read.

So, I started thinking.  What if I made my own summer reading club?  I’m an adult; nobody is going to give me any kind of looks for buying some stickers and poster paper at the dollar store.  I can give myself a sticker per book read (from the public library or my own library) if I damn well please.  Why shouldn’t I reward myself for doing something good for my brain, that makes me happy?

Stickers it is.

Here’s what’s on my ‘Summer Reading Club’ list so far:

Non-Fiction

Writer with a Day Job by Áine Greaney

I received this book as a gift from a friend who is beyond supportive of my passion for writing and knows that my job can be creatively-numbing.  I got a few chapters in when I first received it, but panicked about following the suggestions inside and stopped like a ninny-muggins.

This summer, I’m committing to writing alongside my muggle job and to cultivating my own, original fiction, and I plan to use this book as a tool to help me succeed with those goals.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

After many lunch discussions and coffee conversations, a friend from work brought this book in for me to borrow.  I’m excited to read it and to draw out the lessons that can be learned from it and the self exploration that it will doubtlessly generate.

Wanderlust (A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self) by Jeff Krasno, with Sarah Herrington & Nicole Lindstrom

Two years ago, I participated in a Wanderlust 108 event, which is a ‘mindful triathlon’ composed of a 5K run, 90 minutes of yoga, and 30 minutes of mediation.  It was a real achievement for me to complete the 5K, since I hadn’t been much of a runner (spoiler: still not, but I’m trying, because I want to do a RunDisney Star Wars Half-Marathon), and the event organizers were selling this book in the merch tent.

I didn’t buy it until well after the event and have only flipped through it since, but am committing to reading it and completing some of the exercises in the coming months.

Fiction

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby’s one of my touchstone books that I always come back to when I’m not feeling confident in my own writing.  It inspires me to try again, even if I write something awful, and to keep working and trying until I have some kind of draft that I’m not completely displeased with.

It also gives me the perfect excuse to re-watch Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film adaption, which is on my ‘Favourite Movies Ever’ list.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (the original 1818 text, edited by D.L. MacDonald and Kathleen Scherf, 2nd Edition)

I’ve been in love with Universal’s monsters since I was little and have seen bits and pieces of countless adaptions of Shelley’s ‘Modern Prometheus’, but am ashamed to say that I have never read Frankenstein from beginning to end.  There’s no time like the present to change that and to celebrate a woman so goth that she lost her virginity in a cemetery.

The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe (COMPLETE)

I’ve already finished this, but wanted to put it on the list anyways, for the sake of ‘the sticker’.

I’m not always up on gothic-horror or new-ish books, so I randomly searched the genre in the public library’s catalogue and picked the first book with ‘ghosts’ in the title and boy am I glad that I did.

Silence is a short read (190 pages) and is a richly detailed, captivating page-turner.  I read it in one sitting, staying up way too late last Saturday night to finish it.  I would definitely recommend it!

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Star Wars has been killing it with novels lately!  I love-love-loved Bloodline by Claudia Grey and am a fan of the Clone Wars television series, so an entire novel about my beloved Asajj Ventress is an absolute must-read for me.  As a bonus, it’s based on a 5 episode arc of the Clone Wars that never happened due to the series’ cancellation.

I’m so excited and I’m sure that I’ll blast right through this.

If you want to join in on my Summer Reading Club, leave a comment telling me what you’ll be reading this summer.  If you’ve read any of the books on my list, I’d love to hear your spoiler-free thoughts on them too!

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