By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library
In library land, we are in full Summer Reading mode. Honestly we’ve been this way since February. Even if you’re an adult with adult-sized obligations, there is something magical about reading in the summer. Whether your summer reading scene looks like an uncrowded beach of pristine white sand and turquoise water or more closely resembles a can of mosquito repellant next to a children’s inflatable pool, it’s time to think about your reading strategy.
Strategy 1: Keep it short
Summer days are long; these books are not. If you’re limited on time and want a book that you can read in snippets before bed or in one longish afternoon, these titles are ideal. At less than 200 pages, you can pack several of these into the summer. See the list.
Strategy 2: Go big
Sink your teeth into a delicious doorstop of a book and give yourself over to it for the full summer (or at least a couple of weeks). Think Bleak House by Charles Dickens, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and Middlemarch by George Elliot. For more contemporary titles, try The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, or Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (one of my all-time favorites and perfect for summer reading).
Strategy 3: Listen up
Audiobooks are a multi-tasker’s secret weapon. I am rarely without a downloaded audiobook on my phone. If you’re planning any road trips, audiobooks can help you through that brief moment of despair that always hits between hour 7 and 9 (usually in the high plains of Kansas). Check out the Audies for a list of award-winning productions. Some of my recent audiobook favorites: Calypso by David Sedaris, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas.
Strategy 4: Read the ones that got away
Most summer reading lists are going to feature new books, but new books get all the love. What about the books that got away? The one you were assigned to read in English Lit, but only skimmed. The one you started and quit but you think may deserve another chance. Maybe you’ve recently discovered an author you love, and you want to read his or her backlist. Perhaps it’s one of those books that you feel like you should have read but haven’t (I’m looking at you, Giovanni’s Room). Use the summer to rediscover these literary gems.
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that part of any good summer reading strategy includes the Tulsa City-County Library’s Summer Reading Program. Last summer over 59, 000 babies, children, teens, and adults participated. Registration begin this May 28th. I hope to see you (and your reading lists) at the library!