This winter has been an especially long and exhausting one. Or maybe every winter feels just a little bit longer and more exhausting than the last. But whatever the actuality is, it is currently March 16 and I still feel like there is absolutely no end in sight. Each time the temperature rises closer to 50, my hopes rise with it, and then within 24 hours we’re back below freezing and I’m grumpily bundling back up in scarves and hats and gloves. Will it never go away?
Lacking the funding to “get away” to warmer climates, I turn to my tried and true tickets to paradise: books. And what I’ve found is that it isn’t necessarily the beach reads or the “happens on the beach reads” that give me the best escapes, but rather the novels with little snippets of sunshine.
In the newly released “Vanishing Girls” by Lauren Oliver, one of the main characters is working her summer away at a local theme park. Try reading this passage and not feeling like you’re melting into a summer-induced puddle:
“Outside, the thermometer is already at ninety-eight degrees. There’s a heat wave due this week, a massive, record-breaking, blast of oven-temperature air. Just what we need today. Even before I get to the bus stop, I’ve chugged through my water bottle, and even though the air-conditioning on the bus is on full blast, the sun still seems to beat through the windows and turn the whole interior the murky, musty warm of a dysfunctional refrigerator.”
Now, this passage doesn’t exactly say “hey, summer’s great”, but it IS easier to forget that it’s actually only 15 degrees outside and we haven’t seen the sun in several days. I love that kind of writing–it’s my favorite thing about books. How easily they can take you away.
Another great summer-feeling read actually is a beachy one: “We Were Liars” by e. lockhart. This was the “IT” YA book last summer/last year, and my review on GoodReads only says “I have been left reeling. And it’s all I can say.” Really, if you haven’t read it yet, pick it up. It’s fast, it’s intense, and it’ll make you forget that things like “winter” and “snow” exist. This, among other passages, really just makes me smell summer:
“There’s a night I remember now. It must have been about two weeks before my accident. Early July. We were all sitting at the long table on the Clairmont lawn. Citronella candles burned on the porch. The littles had finished their burgers and were doing cartwheels on the grass. The rest of us were eating grilled swordfish with basil sauce. There was a salad of yellow tomatoes and a casserole of zucchini with a crust of Parmesan cheese.”
Citronella candles? Cartwheels in the grass? Yellow tomatoes and zucchini and eating outside? Bring. It. On.
And finally, a tried and true summer-lovin read is “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” by Rebecca Wells. Really any of Wells’ books. Or even “The Help” by Kathrynn Stockett. Maybe it’s just southern books in general. Something about their setting, that sultry, humid air, that heat that lasts long into the night–Pick up a Sookie Stackhouse book and I guarantee you’ll be dreaming of laying in the sun instead of shoveling out snow.
How about you, dear readers? What books do you read when you’re sick of winter and seeking out the sun? Any authors you gravitate towards?