Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Summer Reading

Although the calendar reads Spring, the longer days speak of Summer and long stretches of time for reading. Growing up, I frequented the old Carnegie Library in our small town during the summer. Often my siblings and I went with our Mom. I can recall the smell of old books, the feel of the oak tables and chairs, and the cool basement where the children's section was located. Moving upstairs to check out books from the adult section was a milestone. Mom had to give the library permission for us to check out adult books a little early. Sometime around 7th grade, I exhausted the few chapter books in the children's section. I wonder if there weren't as many young adult novels in those days. At any rate, our library didn't circulate many. I moved on to Bess Streeter Aldrich and mysteries by Mignon Eberhart.

When I taught on the school calendar, I made a summer reading list each May. Later even though the program I worked in extended to year-round services, I made the list. Pondering books for the list is still one of my summer pleasures. I list a few works of fiction and poetry as well as a healthy amount of nonfiction. Often I include a classic that I somehow have never read. I decide which books I'll check out from the library and what I might buy second hand. Then, surprise, I rarely read strictly from the list. If I begin a book I don't like, I abandon it for another without any qualms. If some unlisted book catches my eye, I read it.

Currently I'm reading a book from my list, Rising From the Plains, an intertwined story of well-known geologist David Love, his family, and the natural history of Wyoming. We lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming for three years so I am familiar with wind and rock in Wyoming. I almost gave up on this book because of all the geological terms. McPhee's reputation for nonfiction is well deserved so I pushed through the first section of geology. I am glad I persisted because the story of the family and how they were influenced by the land is worth reading. In 1905, Love's mother, a Wellesley graduate with a Phi Beta Kappa key, traveled from Massachusetts to Wyoming to teach school. There she was courted by and married John Love, who went to Wyoming to work as a cowboy after being expelled from the University of Nebraska for putting a sign in a Dean's flowerbed. Mrs. Love began a journal on her trip west and continued off and on through most of her life. McPhee quotes from her writing throughout the book. Because schoolmarms were few and far between near the Love Wyoming ranch, she homeschooled her four children in Greek, Latin, literature, and mathematics. She also sewed up cowboys and hosted outlaws. David Love grew up observing and thinking about the geology of Wyoming to ward off the monotony of days working among rocks and mountains. Eventually he earned a phD in geology from Yale. I can't summarize the geological history of Wyoming but learned it is quite unique with many visible layers of rock formations. Reading is meant to stretch our imagination and knowledge, right? And never plant a sign in a flowerbed at the University of Nebraska.

Knitting on the deck has been lovely the last few evenings. After afternoon chores and dinner, I take my ice water and project to the deck, prop up my feet, and knit for an hour or so while the breeze blows in the first days of June. I finished the two pairs of travel socks, a second fingerless mitt, and am almost done with a shawl. The shawl has been easy warm weather garter stitch knitting with a little lace along the edge. Soon I'll need a new project or two, small for summer knitting, but something besides socks. Do you have a favorite summer knitting project?

Joining Kat and the Unravelers today. Thank you to my readers and commenters. I will try Karen's work-around so I can respond to comments again.


  1. Commenting so I can receive comments.

  2. Love the socks and your practice of knitting on the deck in the evening. Our weather hasn’t been so great for deck knitting yet but it will come.

  3. my childhood in Massachusetts was spent in a Carnegie Library. The moving up to the adult section was a big deal for me too.

  4. I love the evocative image you share about your Carnegie Library! I too just loved Summer reading. It was the highlight of the year and I have the fondest memories of the worlds I discovered during the summer binge reading!

    My summer knitting is just to, well... knit! :)

  5. I share your memories of visiting the library as a child -- and the thrill of getting special permission to check books out of the adult section. I still love planning my summer reading -- and browsing for books at the library.

    I spent a decade of my growing-up years in Cheyenne (junior high and high school years, plus time at the Univ of Wyo -- where I tried to be a geology major, but it didn't quite stick, so I became a teacher instead). My sister lives there still. I have a fondness for books and stories set in Wyoming. XO

  6. I read all summer long on the front porch swing, I try to pick books that were as thick as possible so I could stay with the story as long as possible. I did not go to a library as a child but I raised my children to visit :)

  7. Your socks are wonderful. I clicked on the shawl link....oh it is lovely!!!! i may delve into stripes soon