Just call me Ponce de Leon (the Spanish explorer in search of the Fountain of Youth, for those who need a history refresher), for I have discovered the secret for instantly recapturing one’s youth and feeling 10 years old again!
And, just for you, my lovely blog readers, I’m going to share it with you today. Right now.
Here’s what you do:
1. Sign up for your local library’s adult Summer Reading Club program, which requires all of two things: read a book and write a review of said book. (Yeah, I’ve got this.)
2. Repeat as desired.
3. Do your best impression of a Valley Girl when the librarian calls you to say that you were the prize winner in this week’s random drawing of participants in the adult Summer Reading Club program. (“Omigod, thank you so much! Sure, I’ll be happy to come over to the library and pick up my prize!”)
Which was this:
A Pittsburgh Pirates cap (our local boys of summer), an oversized coffee mug (the best kind!), 3 energy bars (one of which has already been consumed by Betty), 2 packets of iced tea mixes, a notepad with the library’s logo on it, and a Yankee Candle Sampler in Sun and Sand scent.
For the adults, our Summer Reading program works by signing up, keeping track of our reading and writing reviews of our books read. That’s it. It started June 18 and goes until July 27. So far, I’ve read 3 books and am on my 4th. (I’m averaging 1-2 per week. Let’s just say that as far as my reading goes, being an Unemployed Statistic is a good thing.)
This week, I finished two books: Shout Her Lovely Name, a collection of short stories by Natalie Serber (which I mentioned in last Sunday’s Salon and which I’ll be reviewing for TLC Book Tours this coming Tuesday) and Next Stop: A Memoir of Family by Glen Finland. (The inside title page has a slightly different subtitle: A Son With Autism Grows Up.)
Both are accurate, as Finland opens her memoir by recounting the summer that she rode Washington D.C.’s Metro system with her 21 year old son David, in hopes that mastering the rails would lead David to his next stop in his life of getting a job and becoming independent. By telling her family’s story candidly and honestly, Next Stop focuses the reader’s attention on what happens when people with disabilities “age-out” of services and enter a world without jobs, accommodations, or the necessary supports to live independently.
I liked Next Stop – the second half moreso than the first. While I found myself nodding in recognition in the beginning chapters, this seemed to cover much of the same ground of other “autism memoirs” I’ve read. Finland hits her stride after the midpoint of the book and I became fully invested in her emotional struggle to let go while also securing the necessary supports needed for David to live as independently as possible.
On Friday, I started Lauren Groff’s newest novel Arcadia. I loved her short story collection, Delicate Edible Birds (see review here) and her novel The Monsters of Templeton, and so far, Arcadia is also winning me over with her rich prose. This is a very character-driven novel, set in a 1970s commune on 600 acres in western New York State. We see life in Arcadia from the perspective of Bit, one of its youngest members. What looks simple and idyllic is not quite so; the hippie lifestyle doesn’t quite agree with his mother, Hannah, who suffers from depression (or so it seems at the page 61 point that I’m up to now). This isn’t going over too well with the other members of the commune, to put it mildly. (They’ve just literally carried Hannah away.)
My 10 year old daughter Betty is also participating in the library’s kids Summer Reading Club. (No luck persuading Boo.) She’s also on book 4 (the awesome Lauren Myracle’s Thirteen) having read three of Rachel Renee Russell’s popular Dork Diaries series (Tales from a Not So Fabulous Life; Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl; Tales from a Not-So-Popular Pop Star). She has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow afternoon, so I’m keeping her home from summer camp in the morning and we’re planning a mini Read-a-Thon in the morning.
Speaking of Read-a-Thons of sorts, I’d be a bad book blogger if I didn’t mention this momentous date of July 1, which marks the midway point of our reading year. Whoooot! Bloggers all over the Internet are marking this occasion by celebrating (or lamenting) their reading goals and progress (or lack) thereof. I’ll be doing the same with a post tomorrow about how my many Reading Challenges are going. I signed up for a ridiculous number of 17 Reading Challenges this year. As crazy as that is, I’ve added an 18th to that (the Big Book Summer Reading Challenge).
I’m on track to finish about the same number of books I usually do in a typical year. Right now, Arcadia is my 30th book of the year, and 60 books (give or take) is slightly lower than my average. Again, my current status as an Unemployed Statistic might help propel that forward a bit, which would be nice.
I’ve also actually FINISHED one of those 18 reading challenges. I know. Go me. Stop by tomorrow to find out which one.
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