Ever since I was a kid, I have loved summer reading. Once or twice I even brought a book to camp, camp! of all places, because I couldn't stand to part with it for 8 hours. I can remember one summer that I read "Little Women" two or three times at my dad's house, not just because it was the only book I had there (why I didn't think to ask him for more is beyond me...a kid thing I guess), but because at the time I thought it might be the only book I would want to read for the rest of my life, I loved it so much.
This summer has been some of my best reading ever because I am home with the girls and able to sit and veg for an hour every day in the sun with my stack of magazines, books, and snacks. Before you get jealous, remember that I pay dearly for this small privilege. I promised myself I wouldn't just read new books that are intelligent and worthwhile, but also silly magazines and books I've read a bunch before. One of my best recent discoveries is the free magazine swap bin at my library, which is a hundred times better than any library magazine bin I've ever seen. Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Time, Vogue, Home & Garden, Boston Magazine, you name it. I'm not so good about putting new magazines in there (I only get Cooking Light and Food & Wine, and part of the reason to get those is I hang on to them for recipe ideas), but I at least put the ones I grab back after I'm done.
I currently have a stack of unread books that I'm looking forward to: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and on and on. But right now for some reason I'd rather read Heartburn by Nora Ephron again. If you haven't read it, I'd highly recommend it. She weaves recipes into her writing in a way that I've always thought was creative genius, and she speaks the truth about what it's like to be a woman better than just about any female writer I've read. I just got to one of my favorite passages, and I had to share it:
"One thing I have never understood is how to work it so that when you're married, things keep happening to you. Things happen to you when you're single. You meet new men, you travel alone, you learn new tricks, you read Trollope, you try sushi, you buy nightgowns, you shave your legs. Then you get married, and the hair grows in. I love the everydayness of marriage, I love figuring out what's for dinner and where to hang the pictures and do we know the Richardsons, but life does tend to slow to a crawl."
I agree with her on everything she said except that life slows to a crawl. Our life is more full than ever, but it's just full of things we don't really want to do, like doing taxes, mowing the lawn, figuring out where one buys a decal to stop the birds from committing suicide against our big bay window, folding a billion pounds of laundry, emptying out the back of the fridge. And that was only this week's list.
A friend shared a great link this week to a New York Times article about the snacks authors eat while writing. I don't write enough to have specific snacks devoted to the task, but I do have my snacks I eat while reading. Presently next to my stack of reading material are salt & pepper cashews (to die for, you really should try them), jalepeno tostitos, and the most wonderful but insanely difficult to open box of Trader Joe's cinnamon graham crackers.
What are you reading this summer? Do you have a favorite accompanying snack?