Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summertime and the Reading is Light?

By vacation-lover Michelle Ule
           Summer time and the reading is easy, or at least it remains light long enough to read into the night!
            Summer reads fall into several categories, depending on your age and situation.  I first read Gone with the Wind as a wide-eyed ten year-old in three languid summer days!
            (And what a great way to read it!)
            The days of being out of school for the summer and dragging home ten library books at a time are long over for me now, but immersing myself in a rich book is still a glorious pleasure. Historical fiction, of course, meets that definition.
            For busier adults, the concept of a “beach” read is that of a paperback you can get sunscreen on without worrying. The stories should be enthralling enough to keep your interest no matter what, or lightweight enough that you can set it down (spine up) and take a dip or yank a child out of the surf.
            On my vacation to Cancun last year, I thought I’d found the perfect books for relaxing on the beach and sipping one colorful drink after another. All three had come with great reviews from book-loving friends. I had six days, a great hat, a thatched-roof cabana and a friend who had books of her own to read.
            What could be better than that?
            Well, the subject matter.
            The first selection was Jo Baker’s Longbourn.all-inclusive
            Longbourn is a terrific book—Pride and Prejudice told from the point of view of the servants. You know the story, you know the major characters. You even know what’s happening “upstairs.” This version lets you see how those background folks reacted to events when Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy came to call.
            Can’t you just hear Mrs. Bennet screaming, “Hill!”
            I could, too, but lying on chaise in my swim suit while reading about the long suffering cook, house maid and laundress, started feeling a little uncomfortable. I loved the book.
            I was just glad when it was done and I didn’t feel so guilty about, well, not doing the laundry.
    Kisses-from-Katie        Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis is not a historical novel. It’s the true story of a teenager who moved to Uganda and adopted 16 daughters.
            As a teenager. You read that correctly.
            And inspiring, humbling, intriguing, absorbing memoir, it also reminded me that while the weather was warm and sultry, just like in Uganda, I was lying on the beach in my bathing suit while countless orphans needed parents.
            An excellent book.
            I was glad when I finished.
            I saved the most beach-worthy novel for last: Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder.
            This one had everything: pirates, beaches, buried treasure, romance. How could it disappoint?
            It didn’t. The writing was delicious, the story amazing, the location perfect.
            Except for one major ingredient.
            Cinnamon and Gunpowder, set in 1819, it told from the point of view of the cook—who was captured by pirates and compelled to concoct an exquisite meal every Sunday or forfeit his life.
            I enjoyed it immensely, read sections out loud to my friend, jumped in the pool whenever I felt guilty and savored my meal every night. I learned a lot about pirates, the Caribbean, cooking in the early nineteenth century and how far I could suspend my logic.
            A perfect summer vacation in which to read, indeed!


Three great summer reads and a classic! Click to Tweet

Pirates, the Bennet servants and a Uganda girl-mom; great summer reads! Click to Tweet

The author of five novellas, Michelle Ule's latest release is this month's The Sunbonnet Bride, part of The 12 Brides of Summer Collection #1, now available as an ebook. Learn more about her and check out her twice-a-week blog at

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