"Today I'd like to sit and read.
Forget I have a job I need.
Ignore the things I have to do.
And just enjoy a book or two."
Warm summer afternoons bring out an especial longing in me to drift away on a cool breeze and disappear into a good book. While bees hum in the roses and leaves lay listless in treetops, and it's really too hot for intense effort, I reach guilt-free for my stash of summertime reading. I like books that are sunshine infused and lavender scented, where passages remind me of happy childhood and summer holidays. Where the beauty of God's summer-laced world drifts through the pages, and adventure, mystery, and romance surprise at every turn.
No matter the season, including summer, I enjoy a mix of fiction and non-fiction, beloved favourites alongside titles yet unread. I like the well-weathered friends of old classics and vintage books, but I also run with my current favourite bestsellers. I slip easily from one genre to another: whodunits, historical fiction, literary classics, memoir, garden, art, poetry, and spiritual inspiration. Sometimes I dip into stories I loved as a girl, such as Rose in Bloom and the Anne books, or I'll catch up on titles I missed growing up. I've done the same with adult books. A couple of summers ago, I sought out well known works I'd ignored in the past and was pleasantly surprised to find this 'filling in the blanks' a most gratifying experience.
" No day is so bad it cannot be
fixed with a good book. "
A storyline beautifully written is a must, but I also want characters I grow to care about as they grapple their issues and search out truths that set them free. I admire authors who can tell a hard tale, skillfully weaving difficult themes without utterly swamping my mind with a horrifying bleakness. There must always be a thread of goodness and beauty throughout. A good book, especially one read during the summertime, must have reasonably happy endings, and if not happy, well then, at least hopeful. I want to know the characters I've come to love will have a chance for better days ahead. In God’s world hope is ever present—it should be in books too.
Books fuel my writing. Reading about people who dedicate their lives to making the world a better place inspire me to keep dreaming of how I, too, can make my world a more beautiful place with my writing. These world changers invite me not to lose hope about making a difference, and I grab hold of the divine creative impulse with renewed joy. Often, I turn to my poetry books, devotionals, and nature diaries, meandering through the pages as if in a garden, breathing in a thoughtful line here, holding a poignant phrase there. Nourished and refreshed, my heart beats with a readiness to dust off my keyboard and share this beautiful life with others.
"What we need is the healed capacity to imagine and
believe the profound goodness of the future, to stand in
the light of a happy ending whose power reaches into
our present and draws us forward in hope."
To wind up, there are two books I want to recommend for your summer reading. Both happen to be written by the same author, Sarah Clarkson. At present, I am slow reading her newly released This Beautiful Truth, and I consider her other work Book Girl a must-have for any booklover's shelf.
✔ This Beautiful Truth, How God's Goodness Breaks into Our Darkness. Sarah shares her dark struggles with mental illness and depression. Beautifully written, this intimate and honest book speaks hope to anyone who has ever grappled with their own dark pain.
✔ Book Girl, A Journey through the Treasures & Transforming Power of a Reading Life. Part book list, part memoir, Sarah invites readers into her personal journey with her favourite books. A great reference tool for fellow book lovers. My review has more HERE.
Wherever you are this summer, I hope there's a pleasant breeze and a beguiling pile of books to keep you company. Happy Reading!
Top Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay
Other photos by Brenda Leyland