The idea for this blog came from my cousin, Jennefer, about a year ago as I was, once again, waxing eloquent about some book I wanted her to read.
I started pineneedlesandpapertrails as a blog to recommend my favorites, not provide a deep critique what’s out there – new or old. I realized, too, as I blogged, just how fervently I believe in the benefits of reading. Literacy – yes – but not just literacy for the sake of job advancement or the achievement of educational goals; I mean reading for enjoyment.
Inspirational author Gladys Hunt challenged us to have “honey” in our lives so we can give it away: “Many years ago Erich Fromm wrote in The Art of Loving that children need two things: milk and honey. Both are necessary to thrive as human beings. Milk symbolizes the necessities – like good food, brushing your teeth, drinking your milk and plenty of sleep. Honey is just as important. It means finding sweetness in life, like beauty and goodness that nourish the inner person…Good books are full of honey. It reminds me of the proverb that says ‘Pleasant words are like a honeycomb; sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’.” [Proverbs 16:24] blog post, dated September 12, 2008 http://www.tumbon.com/honey.
Mrs. Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart and Honey for a Teen’s Heart are excellent resources that offer book lists and inspirational chapters on why children should read, but few people realize that she wrote Honey for a Woman’s Heart for adults. This wonderful book spurred me to read for pleasure in the midst of my busy, and sometimes chaotic, life. It also helped me to climb out of the reading rut I had fallen into (British or historical mysteries) to try new genres.
I am not telling you WHAT to read this summer. Some novels are written perfectly to be read in one afternoon on the beach, other books are best read in installments. The Sherlock Holmes detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for example, were originally published as serial articles in a magazine. My seatmate on a recent airplane trip was a writer who described reading a classic novel too quickly from cover to cover like “eating an entire pan of fudge at one sitting. It would not be very enjoyable.”
Just read! Pick up a classic to stretch your mind, or read a light novel!
Okay, I admit I have some personal favorites. You can check out my recommendations for the year on the “My Library” page of this blog. I love Neta Jackson’s Yada Yada Prayer Group series, At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, a wholesome, hopeful book set in a North Carolina small town. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell, the story of a missionary couple in China, containing heroism, tragedy and romance all in a fascinating historical setting.
You could take a dip into mystery with The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, or Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers.
For fantasy, the Narnia Chronicles always delight. I blogged about my favorite, The Horse and His Boy. My friend, Lynne, suggests reading them in the order C.S. Lewis wrote them: Lion, Prince, Voyage, Silver, Horse, Magician’s, Lastly, I recommend Beyond the Summerland, the first in the Binding of the Blade fantasy series by L.B. Graham.
A final thought! If you are a parent or grandparent who wishes that the children in their lives would read this summer, be sure to put your own nose in a book – the power of example. My posts with short reading lists for boys and girls are found in the month of November.