During the "dog days of summer" (July 3 to August 11, according to the Farmer's Almanac), I spend less time in my garden. Early morning and evenings are about the only times I venture out (unless there's a poor drooping plant desperately in need of a drink of water)... to mow the lawn...do the necessary chores...take a dip in the pool or a stroll around the garden to see what's in bloom.
Less time in the garden means more time to catch up on reading...another favorite hobby. Since I never know what I'll be in the mood to read, I always have 3 or 4 books going at one time.
Here's my favorites this summer:
Talking Dirt by Annie Spiegelman is one I mentioned in my previous post. The Dirt Diva writes with humor on, what else but...DIRT! And, that's not an easy subject to be funny about but she does a great job of keeping the reader engaged. Her helpful suggestions have encouraged me...and given me plenty of ideas...to continue improving my sandy soil.
I always try to read a book I missed as a child or teen, and The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien is my choice this summer. I can truly appreciate those blessed with the remarkable ability to create and delve into an imaginary world...and this book delivers with plenty of mystical characters...goblins, trolls, elves and the sort. And, speaking of imaginary worlds, as you can see by this photo...the fairies left their tell-tell sign...a fairy ring...that they danced with glee in the moonlight on my neighbor's yard this past week (I knew I could work something about gardening into a post on books). :-)
The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison and Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor are both memoirs...one of my favorite genres. And, no, not the memoirs of "movie stars" but those of everyday people like myself.
The Gift of an Ordinary Day is a mother's memoir as she reflects on the changes in her life as her children grow and become more independent. She longs for a simple life and around mid-life they make a move to a small town where she learns to savor and treasure the most ordinary moments of everyday life. There's a heartfelt story about her extraordinary neighbor Debbie who manages to profoundly impact everyone...including the animals on their quiet country lane...in simple but sincere ways. A real eye-opener that you can (in the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes) "Mend the part of the world that is within your reach." A simple but powerful message -- don't you think?
Sue Monk Kidd wrote The Secret Life of Bees and if you haven't read that book you missed a GREAT one! It's not often that you find one as good as the Bees.
In her current book, Traveling with Pomegranates she cowrites with her daughter as they chronicle several trips they've taken to Greece while dealing with changes in their lives. I've read and enjoyed every book she's ever written...especially her spiritual memoirs. She's a kindred spirit...a seeker of truth...who writes with unbridled honesty
And, of course, I must dream about and make plans for my return to the garden come October...when the weather is more agreeable to gardening. Garden books, and I have plenty of them...another obsession, I dare admit...are my muse and inspiration. I can look through the same book a hundred times, and still find something new and inspiring. One of my favorites is Southern Gardens by Sunset. So many photos of gorgeous gardens ...they never fail to spark ideas in my head.
I'm always looking for a GREAT book to read...you know, the kind you never want to end because you'll miss the characters you've grown to love. If you've read one of these rare but wonderful books, please share the title with me, so I can indulge my need to buy more books :-) and spend the "dog days of summer" with my nose stuck in a book...savoring every delicious word. Definitely...one of life's simple pleasures!
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