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Bookworm: A reading list for life - because books aren't just for summer

June 11, 2014 at 1:11 a.m.


I will never understand summer reading lists. When I see them, I see a way of saying that people are only reading three months a year - that we only read when we're not in school, working or whatever we engage in during our daily existence from September to May.

Preposterous. Offensive. Horrifying.

I cannot explain the range of emotions - from outrage to disappointment - that engulfs me when I see these lists.

I want to shake my fist in the air. Throw books (lightly) at people for them to read.

I want to rip the lists down and replace in their stead a sign that says: "BOOKS FOR ALL YEAR LONG!"

But being the extremely polite and lovely person I am (ha), I don't - and won't - do that.

Instead, I will treat you to a not-summer-specific book list I am excited to read in the near future because books are amazing, and we should always have time for books.

"All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel" by Anthony Doerr. I actually started this book this week, and I'm already hooked. It's about a blind French girl and a German boy before and during World War II. We meet her in an attic as she huddles alone with a miniature replica of her city as the bombers fly toward her.

The German boy we meet while he's in a basement, also waiting for the sky to fall. When I first saw the description of this book, I admit I thought, "Another World War II book?" But upon reading the first few chapters, I became intrigued. It's very well written and captivating, and I'm already loving the two main characters.

"The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd. It's about a young lady, Sarah, and her handmaid, Handful, and their life together starting when Sarah is 11 years old. Exploring the themes of women's rights, independence, trust, love and family, it promises to be a dramatic and hard-to-put down saga.

"Orphan Train: A Novel" by Christina Baker Kline is also on the list. Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is approaching the age at which she'll be on her own, thrust from the foster care system into the world. Her job, helping an elderly woman named Vivian clean out her home, keeps her busy and out of trouble.

As she works with Vivian, she finds out that Vivian's past is as muddled as her own. An orphan herself, Vivian has searched for answers her whole life, and now, Molly may be able to help her find them.

"Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic" by David Quammen is for the curious out there. This book delves into the origin of Ebola, SARS, Hendra, AIDS and other deadly diseases. According to this author, the bugs that transmit these diseases are transmitted from wild animals to humans. This is called spillover. It sounds like a fascinating and educational inspection of how diseases occur and are spread and what we can expect in the future. (I'm betting on a zombie apocalypse, but I could be wrong.)

These are just a few of the books currently teetering on my to-be-read pile at home. If you have suggestions for books that I or other readers might enjoy, please let me know. Anytime. Any day.

Send it to me by post, email, text message or tweet. Send me a note by pigeon, even. I'd be delighted to receive it, feed it a little and let it fly back to your home stoop.



We all know us bibliophiles read ravenously all year long - regardless of the season, weather or time of year.

Our lists are ever growing and changing according to new releases, suggestions from friends and surprise discoveries in our favorite bookshop.

Book lists are great, but a list for just three months of the year? Unthinkable. Ridiculous. Out of the question!

We don't need no stinkin' summer reading list. We need a life reading list, subject to change indefinitely and handcrafted by those who love books as much as we do.

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