Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Summer Time and the Reading is Easy...

By Anne Stormont

In our busy lives, it can often be difficult to find the time and energy to read a book. But the annual summer break from work is one occasion when many of us do manage to indulge our need to read. And for all of us who write it is especially vital that we do set aside some time to read. I must admit that I’m baffled by writers who say that they’re not readers. What?!

I can’t think of anything nicer on a sunny, summer day, at home or abroad, than to sit in a shady spot and lose yourself in a good book.

And the lovely thing about summer holiday reading is that it is reading for pleasure.  Yes, your choice of book may fulfil other purposes such as work, research or education. But the primary motivation in selecting your summer reading should be enjoyment. Leave the ‘duty reads’, the ‘should reads’ and the ‘worthy reads’ for another time. Summer holidays are the perfect time for a juicy crime novel, an intriguing historical tale, a passionate romance, a magical fantasy, or a collection of laugh-out-loud anecdotes.

It’s also a good time to immerse oneself in creative non-fiction and poetry and don’t let’s forget short fiction and magazines.  Essays, poems, short stories and features are all of suitable length to accompany a spot of sunbathing,  in between swims, walks and trips to the bar or cafe.

And if you’re reading on a lazy summer’s day, you’ll also have time to reflect and ponder the content. This is a luxury you don’t get when trying to cram in a chapter in bed at night before being overwhelmed by sleep.

I still vividly remember reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel ten years ago whilst on holiday in St Lucia. Mr S. and I were celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, hence the luxurious location. And reading this amazing, weird and beautiful fable while sitting on the white sandy, Caribbean shore was an enchanting experience.

Other favourite reads from summers past include Sara Maitland’s ‘Women Fly When Men Aren’t Watching’, anything by poet and author, Kathleen Jamie and, most recently, Chris Arthur’s wonderful essay collection ‘On the Shoreline of Knowledge’.

So whether it’s real book, eBook or audio-book, and whether you’re on vacation, staycation or just living easy on an August weekend, do make time for some real good summer reading. Because you and your writing are worth it.

And, in case you’re wondering, this summer I’m reading: ‘Tearing At Thoughts’ by Andy Harrod, ‘Tristan and Iseult’ by JD Smith (yes WWJ’s Ed - the JDS), ‘The Legacy’ by Katherine Webb and ‘The Overhaul’ by Kathleen Jamie – so a fine mix of fantasy, history, romance, short-fiction and poetry.


Anne Stormont is a writer and teacher. She can be a subversive old bat but maintains a kind heart. As well as writing for this fine organ, she writes fiction for adults - mainly of the menopausal and post-menopausal female persuasion - and for children. She blogs at http://annestormont.wordpress.com  - where you can find out lots more about her.    

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