Note: “Summer Reading Group”

I see this cartoon and smile because I understand far too well, then quickly drop the smile for the same reason. ‘Tis the season. Since the start of summer, my most productive reading sessions have taken place in libraries, cars, and airplanes, not the most obvious summertime hangout spots. I generally feel immense pressure to be outdoors when the sun is out, so reading in my room loses its appeal. Reading at the park or the beach sounds wonderful, but as soon as I open my book, the sun’s harsh rays land on the page and explosions of light follow. I position my head in an attempt to cast the perfect shadow. I eavesdrop on conversations. I apply sunscreen. My eyes trail off the page and settle on the blue above, thinking nothing and sometimes everything. Publishers constantly recommend various versions of the best beach reads, and I wonder if these books are intended for distraction, to accommodate spotty reception. There is one reading spot that has emerged as the season’s favorite. I wait for the sun to drop from its highest point, drive less than a mile, and park alongside the marina. I then push my chair back, roll down all of the windows, and as the bay breeze slips into the hot car, I settle in to read until sunset. If we find ourselves lured away from books by the sirens of summer, let us not fret. I imagine many of my favorite authors and their characters would encourage such behavior, as they would do the same, and I would enjoy reading about it.

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