Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In Which I Pretend Perfect Weather Exists

Summer Reading
"In Which I Pretend Perfect Weather Exists" by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The "Bright Maidens" were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

In my mind's eye, I'm sitting in a bug-free, snake-free meadow, sprawled out in the tall grass, in a light, summer dress circa Anne of Green Gables with a book in my hand. Later, I'll glide down to the lake and hop in the paddle boat with my musty, bound book and push off into the middle of the water, breaking up the reflection of the puffy-cloud sky.

A breeze rocks the boat as I turn from page to page.

But I don't live on Prince Edward Island. I live in Richmond where the days are hot, sticky and there isn't a bug-free, snake-free meadow even in our dreams. We've hit 100°F almost everyday for about three weeks here in the former capital of the Confederacy.

The books get soggy with ... feminine glow, not sweat ... if you try to read outside. The animals laugh at you if you walk out with your book, waiting for the cool breeze.

I'm going to share my resources for summer reading during those "thank you, dear Lord, for whomever invented air conditioning" days. Yes, it's high-tech and yes, you have to have a computer to read these, but that's just one more opportunity to be grateful for what we have.

And for what we don't need to have, namely a sweat-soaked summer dress in a field as we slowly bake to death.

First of all, CatholicFiction.net. Need I say more?

If you're a fan of all things fiction, but you want to be sure you're entertaining yourself outside the confines of a harlequin novel or the fiction-version of "Knocked Up," hit up Idylls Press' website.

They even provide a list of free e-books, with the suggestion that if you enjoy them and you can donate, to indulge the urge. The next book lined up on my Nook (yes, I'm going new-fashioned. It prevents the soggy-book-effect) is The Innocence of Fr. Brown by G.K. Chesterton.

I know many people hold to the idea that books should have pages that crease and tear and ink that leaks down the page when the crying scenes are just that good, but let me remind you of the beauties of air conditioning...

Give it a chance at no cost to you. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Kobo (as well as many other resources, I'm sure) provide free computer/tablet/smart-phone-based applications
for e-reading. Simply download the application and download the free (or not free, whichever floats your indoor, sweat-free boat) e-books and go to town.

If you are interested in more free stuff, never forget our e-vangelizing tools from my post earlier this year. Make sure you visit FreeForCatholics.com, as well, and peruse some of the free or cheap items that companies and organizations are willing to send to us.

So you want to walk away from this post with some titles?

Spiritual must-reads:

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul by Jason and Crystalina Evert
  • My review for this book gets a surprisingly high number of hits every week, even three months after I read it. I continue to benefit from the explanations it provided for me and I hope enough teens get their hands on it before they start making decisions that will affect them for the rest of their life.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • When a priest suggests a book, you read it. A priest suggested this... it's time to read it.
To read for fun:

Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • The greatest Austen novel, in my opinion.
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • I don't know that I can back up this book as fine literature or an astute political piece, but it was a relatively safe way to get inside the fictionalized head of someone who found a reason to support abortion and an alternative way of life, in a "mild" way. If you want to try to understand why people disagree with the Church on things like the Sanctity of Life and Theology of the Body, this is a quick read.
If you're anything like me, dear reader, you're always looking for a suggestion for a good book to read. Rather than making a trip to the store or trusting the Amazon reviews, consider signing up for Library Thing. You can make a list of all the books you can remember reading and filter through the suggestions that like-minded readers provide!

Happy trails! Stay cool...

... I'm off to day dream of a perfect reading corner.


Marc Cardaronella said...

You forgot the rope swing that you sit in under the oak tree while reading your book. ;-)

Great tips! Love Screwtape! And, I'm going to order that Jason Evert book like you suggested!

Being from the south originally, I definitely appreciate the joys of air conditioning and understand about soggy books. For me, it's just sweat. ;-)

Thanks for the post!

Liesl said...

To stave off the heat, I just read by the pool... or in the pool, with my book on the ledge! Actually, that's what I'm off to do now...

Julie Robison said...

LOVE Anna Karenina... I recommend it too! Powerful. Great list! I'd like to read the Fr. Brown series too!

Mary @ A Simple Twist Of Faith said...

Anna Karenina and Persuasion, two of my favorite books. I, too, live in Virginia, Tidewater Virginia. I am also a Mother of a three and a six year old so our summer days usually consist of swimming in a pool, at a friend's lake, at the bay or ocean. Given that, reading is not an option during the day. I spend about an hour reading after my girls go to bed, so relaxing and definitely in A/C!

Fire of Thy Love Catholic Blog said...

I have to add, for Catholic fiction:
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Spence Ohana said...

It is HOT. I feel for you. Same temps here in central Texas.

Mandi said...

Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel too! I've never heard of Library Thing, but it sound useful, thanks for the suggestion.

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