Top 5 Wednesday: Summer Books for all ages


This week’s topic is what books remind you of summer and are your quintessential summer reads?

The Mom’s Choice


A reading/writing friend cites this as one of her life-long favorite books. I owned a copy that looked like this and probably DID read it in 1973 or ’74. I liked the movie when I saw it in junior high school, so I got the book. Hence, the tie-in cover. Very much a “summer” book and movie–only because of the title.

The Summer of ’42  by Herman Ruacher.

The Family Choice


The introduction to the Penderwick family series begins with the family going off for summer vacation and meeting Jeffrey. This is a delightful book (and series) that fans of Elizabeth Enright will love–well, that anyone who likes a true “family” book will love. I have loved listening to each of the books in this series–each as wonderful as the other. I love the way they are growing up. I feel like a proud Mom listening to them.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Little Ones’ Choice


My favorite childhood summer book–Harry by the Sea. Love Harry the Dirty Dog and No Roses for Harry, too. I have the one volume treasury of Harry in fact.

Harry By The Sea by Gene Zion

The Book Club’s Controversial Choice


I remember the books I read in the summer so much better than many of the books and short stories that were assigned reading in school or college. In the summer of 1976 I took a break from re-reading and re-reading GWTW to read Edna Ferber’s classic Showboat. I’ve chosen it as a summer book because its a great read. Sadly, how we classify people is still an issue. Who is African American, who is mixed race, who is white is still a question that divides our society.

I won’t kid you–racism is alive and well in this book, written in 1926 during the great Klan era of the 20th Century. There are words and sentiments that we make us cringe and rightfully feel ashamed today. But the story is still relevant today. Discrimination is still alive and thriving. My hope is that if more people read this for the story the racism will be seen as the vile shame it has always been. I do not post this to glorify racism–never. The story is well worth it. If your only knowledge of this book is Paul Robeson singing “Ol’ Man River” in old-time “slave” dialect, then you haven’t dug into the book and should.

This book also ties in with tomorrow’s great summer book review [tune in tomorrow–same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!]. Magnolia (Nola/Noly) and Gaylord are a classic couple, too. Who doesn’t enjoy a great summer romance?Especially with a roguish, rapscallion of a bad-boy too handsome to resist? And, with the 50th Anniversary this year of Loving v Virginia making inter-racial marriage legal, Steve and Julie’s story is especially poignant.

Show Boat by Edna Ferber

Note: Ferber’s other fabulous book, Giant, made famous by Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson and James Dean in the movie version, is equally relevant for the same reasons. It explores the issue of fair treatment for Mexicans. It’s size makes it an entire summer’s worth of reading.

One More Note: Teachers & Professors who assign students the task of writing a book review on Amazon should definitely fail anyone who posts his review on the wrong book. Lots of reviews on the Show Boat by Edna Ferber page are for a book on Kobe Bryant.

The Aesthetic Choice


This series of incredible, mostly wordless picture books are a treasure. I have many of them. I love anything Edwardian so these are a joy to me. Although they are out-of-print they can be purchased used for reasonable prices and a few libraries have them, too.

An Edwardian Summer by John S. Goodall

But wait! There’s more!

The Beach or Pool Book


A few weeks ago, I reviewed this book about summer of 1914 in an English village. As you know, World War I began for those in Europe on August 4, 1914. The U.S.A. joined the fighting three years later.   My review is here, but you’ll need to scroll way down to read it.

The Summer Before the War: A Novel by Helen Simonson

Top 5 Wednesday is a group at Goodreads. Why not join the group and post your own list (or video) next week?

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