Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happiness is...a to do list.

The start of summer came and went without my noticing last week. We've had a bit cooler weather than normal and things have been crazy busy with a couple of friends and roommates leaving and getting married and doing a million parties and get-togethers and packing and cramming in last minute events and I blame it on that.  It doesn't really feel like it should be summer yet.  (That is one thing I miss about not working in a school setting is the very clear delineation between 'school time' and 'summer vacation'...I miss my summer vacations!) I realized that the summer could very easily slip away from me if I didn't do something about it.  So, I sat down to make myself a list of some summery things to do and goals for the next couple of months. 

Here's what I came up with: 
  • camp on the beach
  • catch fireflies
  • go to the 4th of July celebration on the Mall
  • make some homemade ice cream
  • go to a baseball game
  • take advantage of the pool at the new place
  • go to an outdoor concert
  • kayak the Potomac
  • go to a movie under the stars
  • Go to Yellowstone, Southern Utah, the Shenandoahs, 
  • go to a performance at Wolf Trap
  • do more hiking
Am I missing anything? What are some of your favorite summertime activities/traditions?

This week we are starting our big Summer Quest Reading Programs at the library.  We sign the kids up to read books throughout the summer and host fun activities (puppet shows and magicians and such) each week through the first part of August.  I decided I needed to shake up my reading just a bit and if I was going to spend time encouraging kids to read and set goals for the summer I could do the same.  So, my goal is to read one book each day and blog a short review about it for the six weeks that our Summer Quest program is going on.  My hope is to do at least one 'adult' book each week because I just never seem to be able to find the time to read things other than my kid books. And I'm hoping to limit myself to no more than two picture books each week as well.  The rest will be a mixture of juvenile and young adult, fiction and non-fiction depending on what strikes my fancy.  

I have about 12 books on my desk at work at the moment so the first few shouldn't be hard to choose.  I would love some suggestions for grown-up books though. What are some of your absolute must-reads? Those books that you are constantly trying to foist on people so you have one more person you can talk to about it and share your love/pain/frustration/excitement etc.? I'm open to just about anything (though really long books may get nixed for now due to the time constraints).  

Here are a few I'm thinking about:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (I'm just about halfway through this one so it's cheating a little but I may count it anyway!)
Room by Emma Donahue
My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Portable Dorothy Parker
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (except this is a series so I may postpone it for when I have nothing else on the docket and can read the whole darn thing!)
something by Georgette Heyer
Divine Signatures by Gerald Lund

I'd like to maybe throw in a purely beachy chicklit-type read, something light and fluffy akin to a Hallmark movie.  And maybe a classic of some sort.  My bookclub takes a summer hiatus and suggested Middlemarch as the longer read to keep us busy but it's like 700 pages or something ridiculous so I may skip that and just watch the movie! (Shhh, don't tell!) Any others I should put on my list?

Thanks for indulging my list-making once again. I look forward to any suggestions anyone may have for additions to either list. I'm off to bed but I'll be back tomorrow with book review #1!


  1. amy....i read "room" and "the red tent". i liked them. i can't wait to hear what you think about them both.

  2. I LOVE lists! I actually found an ap for my android phone called "out of milk" that makes it really easy to organize all of my-to-do lists and grocery lists(cause there are a lot of them) right on my phone so that I always have them with me (love that I don't forget them when I go to the store)
    As for summer, we always do lots of camping. My plans for this summer are to just get this move over with!
    Everyone around here (except me) is reading or has read the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. I have only heard good things! Have a fun summer!

  3. Have you read anything from Marilynne Robinson? I am in complete awe of her writing. My favorites are "Gilead" and its companion novel, "Home." Simply beautiful, however, probably not beach lit.

  4. @ Kim-Ooh, I'm glad. They'll be on the 'for sure' list then...pressure's on! :)
    @ Melissa-I just don't get enough camping in out here. I'm excited to come home in August and do a bit when I'm out there. Where did you guys end up finding a place? Wish I were there to help...good luck!
    @Katie-I haven't read any of hers but they are now on my goodreads list, thanks!

  5. @Melissa-And I completely skipped over your Mistborn suggestion, sorry! I read his book "Elantris" with my ward book club and was surprised at how much I loved it. Know anyone who's read the "Wheel of Time" series that he's finishing? It's supposed to be fabulous as well!