Saturday, May 26, 2018

What's Your Number...

Got your attention, didn't I.
Well, I am not talking about 'that' number. 
I am talking about your Great American Read number.

Please Note!
The following opinions are MINE and MINE alone.
I don't mean to insult anyone.
But if I do, you'll get over it...

my stack on the deck under a palm tree. one of my favorite places to read.
note, there is also mint which is pretty tasty in many summer beverages to be had while reading...

For me, this is the start of my Official Summer Reading List.
In grade school my list consisted of Scholastic Summer Weekly Reader and whatever books I could find at the library. I read alot but the only book titles I can remember are The Boxcar Children and The Bread and Butter Indian.
We tried reading The Boxcar Children to our kids. Turns out there were a whole lot of beatings I didn't remember when I read that book....
In middle and high school, the library still figured prominently but my reading was influenced more and more by popular movies, school assignments and friends.
Until I discovered Hemingway and Nancy Mitford.
After that I exclusively read The Sun Also Rises and Love in a Cold Climate/In Pursuit of Love every summer until John Irving entered the picture.
Those weren't the only books but they were always in my stack of to be read at some point.

Thankfully, Rob is also an avid reader and it wasn't difficult to keep that spirit alive in our children. We spent many a Wednesday and Saturday morning at Mrs. Clark's story hour at the public library, followed by an hour of checkout at the desk for the twenty five pounds of books they managed to pick.

And now PBS is getting in on the fun.
Through a national survey, the fine people at Public Broadcasting have compiled a list of 100 favorite books. The list can be found at The Great American Read.
There is a companion program on PBS which speaks to each book on the list, why individuals – in their own words – chose the books they did. There are author interviews and interesting facts surrounding different books.
And, you can vote for your favorite with the winning book to be announced later this summer.

Not being one to miss a chance to feel dumb, I read through the book list only to find that I have only read 25. Thankfully The Sun Also Rises is on the list.
I did not count it 17 times. Even though I have read it at least that many.
I did start an additional 8 on the list, only to never finish them as they were either too dumb or too smart for my taste. (I am a middle of the road reader. I don't want to be preached at – 100 Years of Solitude guy, but I also don't want to spend my precious reading time wishing I could hunt down the author and asking them how they got such ridiculous work published – Left Behind, series dudes...)
Breaking down the list even more, I have seen 15 movie adaptations of the 25 books which I have read – I only counted The Great Gatsby once even though I have read it nearly as many times as Hemingway's work and seen the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow version of the movie about as many times as I have read the book. There are an additional 5 movies for books which I have not read, and never will – Hunger Games chick.
I really wanted to count Hatchet on my read list as the kids both read it for school and then had Rob read it to them repeatedly which forced me to hear about the poor kid who's plane crashes in Canada and ends up eating nearly as much trout as Hemingway's characters catch in every book he has ever written.
I also wanted to count The Book Thief, which was our daughter's first favorite book of her young adult life; a book which took her to the Jewish Book Festival where she met the author and had her copy signed. But, I have yet to actually read it. Sounds way to sad. Too sad is also a reason I won't read a book.
Two of our son's favs made the list – The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy – which is on my Not Read but Saw the Movie list, and Game of Thrones series – which is on my Have Not Read, and Won't Watch the Series list. (Sorry George RR Martin, I tried but there was way too much gore and not enough dragons for my taste.)

We were discussing the list at breakfast and Rob also suggested counting out the Books I Read as Graphic Novels (or comic books as they were known when we were younger) but not as Actual Books but that just seemed silly.

My summer reading list does not reflect the Nation.
Currently I am reading The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. It is a sweet book about love and loss but not in that 'ooooo, I am suh intellectual' and more in the 'now where did I leave my glass of wine and my baguette' way.
Which is perfect for summer reading.

Summer books should never require too much thinking. Rather, they should transport you to a place or time far removed from anything you have every experienced. Winter books can be a little heavier in subject. Turns out I have a lot of rules for what I will and won't read. Starting with IT MUST BE AN ACTUAL BOOK and not that e-reader nonsense. If I am going to read a book on a computer then I am going to play Home Design instead.

The other books on my list include:
The Little French Bistro, also by Nina George
(although I don't like reading books by the same author, one after the other)
Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr
(because a teacher Rob worked with loaned it to him after hearing about my love of cooking)
Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen
(because he is the best for summer reading and one of the few who I WILL read one after the other)
Henry and June by Anais Nin
(because I have never read any of her work, but I did see the movie...))
The Fermata by Nicholson Baker
(because I mentioned I wanted to read a 'sexy' story but not in that gross 50 shades way)
and of course,
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
(Why would I want to re-read a book I have read so many times? Because there is something in the story which really speaks to me. Plus, after reading A Dangerous Summer which is the actual account of what is fictionalized in The Sun Also Rises, it seems the thing to do.)

Have you made a summer reading list?
Did you check out the 100?
What's your number?

And, as an aftermath of the April A to Z blogging challenge, I am now part of the Road Trip, in which participants are asked to visit as many other blogs as you can. I hope to hit at least a couple a week.
Here are a couple of blogs for you to check out: – for some interesting and funny on-line dating stories – and find a darling new children's book

And of course, don't forget to check out the folks on the No, You've Really Got to Read this... sidebar!

I have also been notified that the EU has a new policy regarding 'cookies' and privacy. Blogger, my hosting site has added a comment about cookies for those of you who are reading outside the US. If you see it, please let me know. 
I am unable to see the comment here. However, I will continue to maintain my stand on cookies as stated below and will maintain everyone's privacy to the best of my ability. 
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. All I can say is: Oh, Wow. I have a lot of reading to do! ;)

    1. I know! Yet there is NO WAY I am reading a lot of these...

  2. 51 out of 100. What a weird list - there's some great stuff but good grief is there some tripe in there! 50 Shades of Gray? Left Behind? Seriously?

    George R. Martin might well be good stuff but good grief I just don't have the patience for series, especially one that isn't done and is now I suppose being written for television and so won't end until the producers say it has to end. A good friend of mine frequently tries to get me into series that she's enjoying and I just won't do it. A trilogy is pretty much my limit, if the author can't tie it up in three books that's too much of a commitment for me, and I really do prefer authors who can manage to fit their story into one book. That's my strangest idiosyncracy as a reader.

    And I can't believe V.C. Andrews is in there! I will admit to having read that book like candy when I was in college. It came in handy once when I was taking an acting class after I'd moved to NY and we had an assignment to do a dramatic reading of the most badly overwritten piece of prose we could find. I knew right away what book I was using!


    1. I can almost - almost - justify 50 Shades because of what it did to reading for a large group of people. The same for the Vampire and Dystopian books. But yes, I am not a 'series' reader. Ugh.

  3. I had this idea at the beginning of 2018 that I would actually keep track of the books I was reading on Goodreads over the course of the year - I read a LOT and would actually be curious to see how many books I went through. That promptly went by the wayside - maybe I'll do it for the summer.


Got a Hairnet sighting? Other weirdness?