Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Tale, and a List, of Summer Books

A Tale, and a List, of Summer Books

Chapter One
Pink dusk was falling by the time Maria drove down the winding, rutted drive to Aunt Leila’s. Rolling down the windows to breathe in the dawn of a summer night, she'd felt her shoulders relaxing with each bump and bounce the old Rover endured.  This was the perfect spot for a summer holiday.  It always had been.  A rambling old house nestled into the cove where waves the colour of mermaid’s eyes licked a rocky beach and salted sea breezes blew through the always open windows.  Alice, Amanda and Anne had been arguing in the back seat (they’d been arguing since the car pulled out of the drive) and Maria chuckled a little to herself as she visualized their reaction to Aunt Leila’s lack of modernity.  She was prepared for the wailing when her daughters discovered the old lady had no internet and only spotty phone reception.  In fact, the only television was a twelve inch black and white that her aunt plugged in when a storm was blowing to see if evacuation was recommended, though to be honest, she’d never known Aunt Leila to heed a single one of those warnings.  It had been so late by the time they’d arrived, Maria and her girls had just tumbled straight into bed.
Now it was morning and Maria lay, as cool as a cat in the starched linen sheets, waiting.  It was already past nine, and she’d heard nothing from the girls. No expected declaration of boredom.  No histrionics, no arguments.  Maria sighed, and stretched.  Swinging out of bed, she felt the coolness of the wide wooden floors on her bare feet as she cracked open her bedroom door and gazed both ways down the hallway.  The old stairs creaked as she went down.  She paused for a moment to listen again.  All was quiet.  She walked through the fragrant sitting room where a tall glass vase held an armload of lilacs and into the sunny kitchen where she found Aunt Leila reading the paper at the polished wooden table.  
“Where are the girls?”, Maria asked.
“In the library”, said her aunt with a sly smile....

Perfect Summer Holiday Books to Capture
 Even the Most Distracted Imaginations:

The Great Unexpected 
by Sharon Creech

Splendors and Glooms
By Laura Amy Schlitz

Captain Scurvy’s Most Dastardly Pop-Up Pirate Ship
by Steve Cox and Nick Denchfield

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare
By Ken Ludwig

Chapter Two
Peeking through a crack in the library door, Maria was astonished to see all three girls engrossed in their reading, little Alice curled up with Leon, her aunt’s placid old dog.   Shaking her head in disbelief, Maria tiptoed down the hallway to the bath. 
There she found a stack of enticing books, some cool lemon water and a bottle of Aunt Leila’s homemade bubble bath.  Maria could not believe her good fortune.  Which book to choose?

Summer Books to Get Lost Inside:
Independent People
by Halldor Laxness

The Professor of Poetry 
by Grace McCleen

The Golem and the Jinni
by Helene Wecker

Homemade Summer
by Yvette Van Boven

Chapter Three
Downstairs in the kitchen, Leila sat down her tea cup and listened.  All was quiet, blessedly quiet.  She could make her way to the studio now without interruption.  Pulling on her boots, she opened the back door and followed the pathway up through the garden, pushing back lilac blossoms as she went.  Ever vigilant, Leon heard the familiar click in the door that no one else heard and wiggled out from behind Alice to follow Leila.  He was beside her by the time she pushed open the weathered studio door.  She paused a moment before the painting by the window.  Still not quite right, she thought.  Too much teal.  Ah well, she would finish it later.  Right now she wanted to read.  Running her long index finger along the spines of her books, she wondered which one to spend the afternoon with.  Let’s see... maybe this one?

Summer Books to Inspire:

Daily Rituals, How Artists Work
by Mason Currey

E. B. White on Dogs
Edited by Martha White

Tell About Night Flowers
Eudora Welty’s Gardening Letters, 1940-1949
Selected and Edited by Julia Eichelberger

The Charleston Bulletin Supplements
by Virginia Woolf and Quentin Bell

Chapter Four
With everyone reading now, Leon breathed a long deep sigh and turned three times in his bed beneath open window.  He could hear the splash and shush of the waves.  He loved that sound.  Somewhere off in the distance, well over the back of the hill, he thought he heard the bleats and baahs of the neighbour’s sheep.  He thought of Pip the border collie and chuckled softly to himself as he thought of him racing back and forth beneath the sun in his eternal chase for those sheep. 
 Ah, thought Leon, much better to be the dog of a reader.
Especially on a summer’s day.

Chapter Five
 through a small round door under the third lilac bush from the sea path, 
far down below the floor of Leila’s studio,
in a house whose rooms are always chilly, always cozy, 
a badger sits reading his own special book by the light of a flickering candle.

Edward and I are happy to report that a brand-new shipment of 
From the House of Edward is almost ready. 
 For those who’ve been waiting a couple of weeks, watch your mailbox...
 it will be there soon.
  And for those who’ve yet to get one of your own, now’s the time!
Find it HERE

The wonderful illustration of the badger is by artist, Kevin Nichols.
You'll read more about him soon!
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  1. Nearly all those books appeal to me, I have noted them!

  2. I see one I'd like right now
    The Rituals book.
    Got to run, take advantage of that Sun and my Gardening.

  3. There is only one word to describe your post today Pamela - enchanting.

  4. I agree with Pat, - one word - enchanting. And you inspire me to spend my summer doing nothing but reading!!!

  5. Pamela,
    What a charming little tale. I loved the images you gave us to help with our imaginations. :D
    Thank you for the list, there is certainly something here for all ages.
    Enjoy your Independence Day festivities.

  6. i am a new subscriber and had to pin something. i am fascinated!enough said.

  7. I loved this post.....very creative and so very well intended.



  8. As usual, your book list is great! I've already added 2-3 to my library wait list. (As I've gotten older, I don't seem to feel I have to own every book I read. Besides, I have a house full of books already. :-))

  9. Pamela, I enjoy your blog very much and your lovely book. I wonder if you choose the pictures first and then write around them? I am asking as someone who is just starting out on creative writing and find your posts inspiring. Sending good wishes to you from Scotland. (you would enjoy our weather now as it's not too hot, just nice for a stroll). Jean.

  10. Pamela, wonderful post. I will keep coming back to re-check it. Love that you began with children's books; I admit to still going into the children's section at Barnes and Noble. I loved to buy my children and grandchildren books. Popups are always loved.

  11. i love your list posts and this one was like walking through a story in itself!
    i especially love the badger picture... and was delighted to see that he's reading my edward book!
    gentle call out to any who are holding out for some reason not ordering one from you... GET ONE!
    whoops. that was a shout! LOL.

  12. Yes, I added all the blogs I am following to bloglovin, so I am following y'all in two ways.
    I noted down a few of these book titles; my hubby and I adore reading.
    This is a nice tale of children in the library and the lure of books.

  13. Once again you delight us with your charming story that introduces us to some wonderful books. I love that Badger is reading your book!
    BTW, I recently read "The Golem and the Jinni" and found it quite entertaining, a different type of fantasy and the characters are wonderfully depicted. Glad it made your summer list!

  14. Happy summer reading! I love these book posts best of all. Where is that gorgeous cottage? It looks British and I noticed that you used the British spelling for colour.

  15. And I'm pleased to hear that your book is doing so well you needed another shipment - congratulations!

  16. So many (wonderful) books, so little time to read them all! Thanks for this delightful post Pamela - a joy to read.

    I've just read The Orchardist, loved it, and now started The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - have you read that one? I believe I will really enjoy learning more about my own England from this charming novel.

    On my way to California tomorrow - warmth and no rain hopefully - what is happening here in the southeast? First time I've worn my Wellies in July!!!

    Happy 4th dear.
    Hugs - Mary

  17. Pamela, what a great list! There are three books I want from this list: Charleston Bulletins, Daily Rituals, and the Eurdora Welty gardening letters. Thanks so much for these wonderful suggestions and happy fourth!
    xx Sunday

  18. Aww, I wish I could take the summer off to read in those gorgeous places. I'd like to start with E. B. White's book!

  19. interesting to read thank you I really liked your article I love your beautiful blog and so enjoy your posts.good job

  20. The last time my daughter and the grandchildren visited a similar occurance happened. My daughter came into the kitchen and wispered to me to come and look and there they were, the grandchildren, all lying on the large bed in the guest room each with a book from the childrens library in that room. They didn't even raise their eyes when we peeked in. Rosalie

  21. Lovely post! Have you finished reading "independent people" yet? What did you think?

  22. Lovely! And isn't that very photo of the cottage from a very special cove in Pembrokeshire?

    So gald you reunited Maggie with her family. An angel was with you that night.


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