Summer Reading

Josie Leavitt - July 11, 2011

This past weekend, my sister-in-law turned 50 and we had family visiting for the weekend. I was curious who was reading what. So, I started asking questions. Or, in some cases just looked at the cover while they were still reading.
Interestingly enough, the adults were not all reading a book. My sister-in-law confessed to having time only for the New York Times, another friend just finished Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and felt compelled to say, “Well, I didn’t read it, I did the book on tape.” Even though books on tape, CD, MP3, etc, have been around for years, people always have to qualify that that’s how they read a book. It’s the same thing! I will say Liz was the third friend to have listened to Bossypants read by Tina Fey and I think that makes for a wonderful reading/listening experience.
A good family friend, with a very tough, intense job, confessed to reading Be the Pack Leader by Cesar Milan. Her dog is a year and a half, and while not normally a non-fiction reader (she is on the library waiting list for Peony in Love), this one spoke to her.
The kids of the family  had no problem just reading all the time, unlike the adults who made conversation when they might have preferred reading over talking.  My nephews, who are eight and 12, and my 16-year-old cousin constantly had their heads in books. It was actually funny. Sunday, whenever there was a lull in the conversation or we weren’t on the boat, these kids were reading.
Summer for the boys seems to be one of re-reading. They’re both taking time now that school is over to go back over their Tintin collections. The eight-year-old is reading, and loving, the Secrets of Droon books, and is going back over the ones that really thrilled him. The 12-year-old is re-reading the Rick Riordan book Throne of Fire. I sense he’s stalling a bit on the seventh grade required summer reading.
Calyn, the teenager, had raided our stash of galleys and was halfway through with Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. What I like about Calyn as a reader is she’s actively reading and questioning what she’s read. Last night she asked if some of the portrayal of blondes in the book was a little too over top. And before I could say anything, she said, “But that’s what makes it funny.”
Sunday morning she came down from the guest room and said, “You have to carry this in your store.” She handed me Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. She then proceeded to tell me why she loved the book. Her energy and enthusiasm for the book were lovely to see. Here is a kid who’s not jaded and just really loves talking about books with me, with her friends, and honestly anyone she thinks might enjoy a particular book.
All of these kids have smartphones, computers and access to iPads and e-readers, but all three of them are choosing books. Not only are they opting for the books, they’re opting to read, just for the joy of it and because it makes them happy.
I look to these kids as the future of the business and they have done much to brighten my bookselling spirits.

7 thoughts on “Summer Reading

  1. Eric Luper

    Great blog entry. It’s good to hear what “real people” are reading. Sometimes, as an author, I get so bogged down in industry talk that I find myself reading things I would never have otherwise picked up!
    Great visiting the store on Saturday, too! Thanks for the iced latte!

  2. Alison's Book Marks

    Hearing about what the kids in your family were reading gives me hope for the future of not only our bookstores, but of our children as well.
    My 8 year-old’s teacher gave us parents a directive for summer reading – books read for pleasure should be a level below or directly at a child’s reading level. Never above. So, it sounds like the re-read of Rick Riordan’s book sounds like just the fun read the 12 year-old should have picked up!
    Happy Summer Reading!

  3. caroline bock

    Agree – great blog – and it goes to another article — that we read what’s recommended to us by a friend, by someone we trust, by a smart kid! I hope she’ll like LIE!!

  4. Andrea Vuleta

    I love the “summer reads”! I don’t get to see extended family enough, but my cousins keep me up to date on their kids’ reading – required or for pleasure.
    My daughter has been very intense in her reading of late. (Laura Ingalls Wilder to Ellen Hopkins – my brain spins!)
    I’m having a hard time keeping up with demand. I purchased 5 books for her to take on vacation, and before they’d driven to MN, I had to ship a few more. Today she should be getting the above-mentioned “Amy and Roger”, as well as “Little Blog on the Prairie”, “Into the Wild Nerd Yonder”, and “Somebody Everybody Listens To.”
    Second box being readied today….


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