Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Summer Salon and Guilty Pleasures

It's Sunday! Welcome to The Sunday Salon! We've been on vacation for a while (if you can rehab for my bum knee a vacation) and look what happened while I was away.... SUMMER! Well, not quite summer, but in Connecticut the weather is warm & sunny now, and the start of the perfect summer season! What do you start thinking about when the seasons change? When we leave the cold behind for Spring, I throw the windows open and let the cool breeze fill the house. I start thinking about outside instead of inside. AND I think about lazy days filled with reading! Summer is the perfect place for guilty pleasures and ice cream cones! What are your guilty pleasures? One of mine is relaxing in the sun with a "different" kind of book to read. Something lighter, funnier, maybe even silly. That's not to say I'm not reading any of my "serious" books, just that I feel freer in what I choose... Like wearing flip-flops instead of black pumps to work. As I think about what some of those books were over many years, here are a few...

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding... The is the laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of a thirty-something Singleton on a permanent doomed quest for self-improvement. Caught between the joys of Singleton fun, and the fear of dying alone and being found three weeks later half eaten by an Alsatian; tortured by Smug Married friends asking, "How's your love life?" with lascivious, yet patronizing leers, Bridget resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult and learn to program the VCR. With a blend of flighty charm, existential gloom, and endearing self-deprecation.

While vacationing in Cape Cod one year, I saw a woman intensely reading something while parked on a bench in the middle of a touristy shopping area. I stopped to ask what she was reading, and it was Bridget Jones Diary. She told me I had to read it! It was one of the funniest books she'd read in a long time. I bought myself a copy and absolutely loved it! It was funny, insightful and well written. It's a chick book before the onslaught of what we talk about at Chick Lit. If you haven't read it, if you're a girl, indulge in this "summer read", it is worth it.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume... In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard’s world changes forever when Caitlin Somers chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomes Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, an enchanting place where the two friends become “summer sisters.” Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin begs Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—because Vix wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart.

I loved this book as an adult. It just brought back memories of summers spent with my girlfriends, doing what girls do... going to beaches, shopping for clothes, singing along with the radio at the top of our voices, talking about boys. Oh and I guess there are a few more things we did that we won't mention here. But the friendship of Vix and Caitlin reminds me of those summers past and Summer Sisters was a fantastic summer read. Judy Blume, of course, is a wonderful writer as well, which makes it so much better.

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy... An incandescent novel of love, obsession, and the secrets that take root in the human heart. Lough Glass is at the heart and soul of the namesake town clinging to its shore. They say that if you go out on St. Agnes' Eve and look into the lake at sunset you can see your future. But beneath its serene surface, the lake harbors secrets as dark and unfathomable as the beautiful woman who night after night walks beside its waters. Lough Glass is home to Kit McMahon, in a way it will never be to her lovely mother, Helen, who does not fit in with the ways of the people of Lough Glass, and who found an unlikely mate in the genial pharmacist Martin McMahon. Kit adores her mother, but can't escape the picture of her, alone at the kitchen table, tears streaming down her face... or walking alone by the glass lake. Then one terrible night Martin's boat is found drifting upside down in the lake. The night Helen is lost. The night Kit discovers a letter on Martin's pillow and burns it, unopened, in the grate. The night everything changes forever.

A girlfriend handed me this book one day. I had never read romance, but she insisted I would enjoy it. It was fat with almost 800 pages and a romance. Ugh. That book sat on my shelf for months. MONTHS! And then I decided I should read it out of a moral obligation. I opened it and started to turn the pages... and then turn more... Until finally I couldn't stop! It was really good! The writing just dragged me in kicking and screaming and then I was hooked. Maeve Binchy knows how to write a doomed love story and this is one of my all time favorite romances! READ THIS!

So, what are your guilty pleasure reads for the summer? Do you have guilty pleasure reads? Or does your reading not change with the seasons? I'd love to hear your thoughts on summer reading!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Book of Secrets said...

Those look like perfect choices for summer. I read my first Maeve Binchy novel last year and enjoyed it. The Glass Lake sounds good, though 800 pages would be quite an undertaking for me! I'm glad to hear it's a good read!

Here’s my SUNDAY SALON this week. :-)

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Diana Leigh! That was my first Maeve Binchy and I have read other books by her that I have also enjoyed. 800 pages is a monster, but The Glass Lake is worth every page! Let me know if you decide to take the plunge!

Suzanne Yester said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Vicki!
Yes, all three of these books are oldies, but goodies. Especially Bridget Jones, which is so funny because she is so like every woman and some of her "escapades" will have you laughing out loud.

thecuecard said...

Yeah definitely my reading changes in summer -- when I read more lighter back-deck sitting stuff. I'm reading my first Kate Morton novel now which I think sums up summer reading perhaps. Yours look good too. cheers!

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