Don’t get me wrong: reading is amazing in every season! Fall invites us to curl up with a fast-paced adventure of misguided hikers lost in a wilderness of fall colours. Winter reading involves cozy blankets and stories of ice hockey, first snowfalls, and festive adventures. Spring leads to romantic tales of first loves, or rebirth after a tumultuous relationship, best set on a remote Mediterranean island.
But summer, well, that’s a whole other season of reading.
First, you need to choose your location. Warm days invite cozy chairs on the veranda, or gentle hammocks under the shade of old trees. Need a gentle breeze? Grab a bench by the river or the perfect sitting-rock by the lake. On those sweltering days, escape to the air-conditioned sweetness of your favourite library or that hidden back room of your local used bookstore. (How is it that every used bookstore has that precious corner?)
Almost as important as location is … snacks! Yes, you must snack while reading, and summer gives a plethora of delicious choices. Cool down with iced lattes and fresh herbal teas. Scoop up a bowl of mint Oreo ice cream with extra chocolate sauce. Grab a bowl of locally grown strawberries with freshly chopped mint. And don’t forget your brightly coloured serviette - after all, you’re about to hold a treasure in your hands.
Whether dog-eared second-hand, borrowed from a friend, fresh from the store, or loaded onto your Kindle, the final, most important question of all:
What shall we read in summer?
For me, it’s all about the setting. I can read fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Any of it is good! But I want to stay in the literary wonder of those lazy, hazy, crazy summer days.
The last few summers have taken me on some especially lovely adventures.
Mary Oliver’s poems place me in the forest, surrounded by birdsong and babbling brooks. Devotions, her collected works, will make you feel like you’ve spent time in the prayerful space made green by the great Creator.
Anne of Green Gables (read and re-read!) takes me to Lover’s Lane and the Lake of Shining Waters. I can practically see the sun blazing off bright red roads, while Anne wanders through the fields reciting poetry and forgetting her chores.
The Garden of Small Beginnings (Abbi Waxman) invites us to discover parallels in the surprisingly coherent themes of grief, romance and gardening.
Set The Stars Alight (Amanda Dykes) brings us on a historical seaside adventure complete with shipwrecks, romance, hidden mysteries, and just the right amount of magical whimsy.
If non-fiction is tugging at your heart, then head straight to the horticulture section of your favourite bookstore. Dig into classics (pun intended!) by such horticultural poets as Gertrude Jekyll, Rosemery Verey, and Celia Thaxter. Environmentalists and artists, these women will fill your imagination with visions of roses, clematis, and sweetly scented lavender.
As I write this, I have my own stack of summer reading on my bedside table. I’ve just finished The Peace Project (Kay Wills Wyma), which encourages us to a daily practice of thankfulness, kindness and mercy. I’m already in love with A Tapestry of Light (Kimberly Duffy), a historical fiction set in 1885 Calcutta, where I’m learning about beetle-wing embroidery. I’m transporting myself to the mountains with Lisa Flickinger’s romantic Rocky Mountain Revival series (Lisa is also an Inscribe writer). And I’m continuing to work my way through My Utmost For His Highest (Oswald Chambers), which provides its own solitary form of evensong.
I love how these books sink me deeper into the warmth, growth, and bliss that is summer.
Enjoy this special season of reading! May it inspire you to slow down, dream deeper, and perhaps even put your own pen to paper …
Allison Lynn has the heart of a storyteller. Whether in her early work as an actor, or in her current role as singer, songwriter, worship leader, blogger, and band manager, Allison is drawn to the power of story to grow hearts and communities. Allison and her husband, Gerald Flemming, form the award-winning duo, Infinitely More.
This prolific duo is currently recording their 9th studio album. Infinitely More has been nominated for 15 national awards, including winning two Covenant Awards from GMA Canada. Their nationally touring ministry travels over 40,000 KM annually, serving churches of all denominations. Allison’s true story - “Aunt Pauline and The Little Easter” - was published in Inscribe’s 2021 anthology Easter: Stories & More. www.InfinitelyMore.ca