Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for July: (7/6) Jennifer J. Chow (7/13) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 1--Ice Cream Shop Mystery), (7/20) Susan Van Kirk, (7/27) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 2--Ice Cream Shop Mystery).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Good Bye, Summer Reading

A proud reader
For some, the first day of school means the end of summer. At libraries, it means the end of summer reading. Close to one thousand children participated in the summer reading program at my county library. The finishers, who had to read fifteen books over the summer, earned a coupon book of prizes and the right to put their names on paper cut outs we display in the branch. Many children proudly visit their cut outs, so we leave them up for a few weeks into the school year. But the gears shift; the reading lists change.

Gone are the lighter, funnier, summer reads. In September, the school reading lists bristle with classics and serious novels. The Great Gatsby steps in as Bridget Jones makes her exit.

Many adults make the same shift. Instead of the brightly colored book displays of beach reads, bristling with bikinis, sand castles, and sailboats, the library book display this month features biographies, serious and suitable for September, the back to school month. Many of these books may have bikinis, sandcastles, and sailboats in the story, but these frivolous elements are hidden behind serious head shots and no nonsense titles: Fearless. Unbreakable. No Easy Day. Lean In.

As we move into the autumn, we'll display books appropriate for those lengthening hours of darkness. Autumn is the time to recommend the darker favorites, Justin Cronin's The Passage, or Alden Bell's The Reapers Are the Angels, a zombie apocalypse/Flannery O'Connor mash up. Leigh Perry's A Skeleton in the Family, about a mystery-solving skeleton, might appeal to those who want some laughs with their shivers.

I realized as I watched this transition in reading material that I had unconsciously set my work in progress in a beach town in September. The tourists are gone, the crowds have left the beach, the leaves are shading into gold and orange. The transition of the seasons underscores the transitions being made by the characters. The sun is losing its warmth. The cold days are coming. Change is literally in the air.

What was your favorite “beach read” this summer?
Writers, does the season of the year play a part in your story?


Jim Jackson said...

Since I read in the woods, not the beach, I don’t qualify for “beach reads.” My favorite three books of the summer were in the order read: Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the second of the Hunger Trilogy, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger. Jan has been a fan of his work for a long time, but I had not read him yet. I’ll be picking up more of his in the future.

As for seasonal change in my writing: I’m currently working with my editor on the final edits of Cabin Fever, the next Seamus McCree novel, which is scheduled for March, 2014 release. Unlike yours, which transitions from summer to autumn, in Cabin Fever the transition occurs in season and people from frozen winter to the mess of mud season.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

I got to read Leigh Perry's A Skeleton in the Family in an advance copy and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also found Barb Goffman's collection of short stories, Don't Get Mad, Get Even, fascinating. Great blog, Shari.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Jim - I love the transition from frozen winter into the mess of mud season! I've got Neil Gaiman's book in my TBR and I have heard a lot of good things about William Kent Krueger. That's the problem with a blog question like this - too many good suggestions....

Hi Paula - I took DON'T GET MAD, GET EVEN with me on a cross country flight a few weeks ago. I cannot get the ending of the first story (Nightmare) out of my mind. *shiver*

Warren Bull said...

In Kansas City there are no beaches and no mountains;
luckily there are books. I enjoyed Suzanne Adair's A Hostage to Heritage, Sue Grafton's Kinsey and Me, and Linda Rodriguez's Every Broken Trust.

Gloria Alden said...

I rarely go to the beach and never long enough to read, and my reading doesn't follow the seasons. First there are the two book club picks each month and then mostly mysteries from my ever so tall TBR pile. My most recent read was the third in the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley; A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD. I love this series and have two more on my shelf waiting to be read. I finished Carla Damron's absolutely wonderful third book in the Caleb Knowles series, DEATH IN ZOOVILLE on my way to California, followed by INTERRUPTED ARIA by Beverly Graves.

Shari Randall said...

Warren, you're right - thank goodness for books - with them we can travel anywhere. Did you find some inspiration for a new story on your safari?

Hi Gloria, I am a Flavia de Luce fan too - what a character! And I've got to get one of the Caleb Knowles stories on my TBR.

Kara Cerise said...

I wasn’t able to read much this summer and only went to the beach once. However, I did read Gloria Alden’s lovely cozy, Daylilies for Emily’s Garden, and enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of plants and flowers. Also, I just finished a medical thriller, Past Lives, by Ken McClure.

Change is definitely in the air. A few leaves have already turned from green to orange, and it was a little chilly this morning.

Anonymous said...

I, too, read and enjoyed Daylillies for Emily's Garden. My TBR list is huge! I did some reading as background for a trip this summer, & am still only halfway through a non-fiction on the popes of Avignon. But I throughly enjoyed my visit, even though I wasn't done with the book!

Sarah Henning said...

This summer I did a lot of beta reading, but I also read "The Lost Sun" by Tessa Gratton, "Game. Set. Match" by Jennifer Iacopelli (I'm a tennis dork), "Every Broken Trust" by Linda Rodriguez, The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy, "Paper Towns" by John Green, "The Witch of Little Italy" by Suzanne Palmieri and some non-fiction.

Barb Goffman said...

Paula and Shari, you've made my day. Thank you!

I've read so many books this summer, I can't even think of which ones to list. So I'll mention the ones I'm reading now: Ghost Man by Roger Hobbs (I'm listening to it in my car, and I'm yearning to go for a drive to find out what happens next.) and Snakes Can't Run by Ed Lin (just started it so I can't comment on the plot yet, but the voice is good).