Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer Book List

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!


Patricia said...

I can definitely relate to your post. I love to read and am anxiously awaiting my next book from Amazon. I enjoy historical fiction and after reading the biography of John Adams will start Jefferson and then on to the letters between the two men who corresponded off an on throughout their long lives...both dying on the same day, July 4; which is so appropriate with the great contributions they made to our country's history.

My St. Pete, Florida garden is hanging on. I make those quick trips out also. In fact, I am looking at my Sweet Pea vine that is starting to grow over the lilies at its' base and must go out and do a little snipping when it cools off a bit. :)

Thanks for the idea list of books. I am going to buy the Southern Garden...

Floridagirl said...

I love the way you stage your photographs...so beautiful...and enticing. Makes me want to sit down and read a book. I haven't read enough books these last couple decades, since becoming a mom. But now that the kids are getting older and no longer needy, it's something I should start doing every day.

These are the dog days of summer, for sure. Never knew there were official dates. I do sometimes get out there in the middle of the day, but it's always a mistake. How the sweat pours! I smiled at those days you listed, as they are actually my sons' birthdays. Haha! Those were fun pregnancies. Nothing like 100% humidity while carrying an extra fifty pounds. I remember how I struggled to breathe just walking from the parking lot to the office after lunch every day.

Kimberly said...

Susan, I too have taken up some reading for the summer. My first read was The Glass Castle. I snubbed it last year when my literary friend, Sandy at "You've Gotta Read This", gave it a raving review. I thought it depressing. I was surprisingly wrong...although somewhat shocking at times, it was not depressing. My next read is "Eat Pray Love" - the movie is coming out in August so I want to read it first.

Great line up of books, and wonderful presentation!!

ChrisC said...

I,too,love to spend the summer time getting caught up on my reading.I just finished Tim Dorsey's layest,and have 2 books piled on the night stand.
Great post!

Susan said...

Patricia..I understand what you mean about "anxiously awaiting" your next book from Amazon. Once I place an order, I can hardly wait for it to arrive. That's an interesting bit of history about Adams and Jefferson...I didn't know. I'll bet the letters between the two will be quite interesting...a great insight into how our country came to be. Enjoy your books. Southern Gardens is a nice book with lots of wonderful ideas.

FloridaGirl...I didn't know there were specific dates either, but if you ask me I think the "dog days" continue through the end of August...or at least it feels that way. Glad you like my photos and if you ever get around to reading, try The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd...it is GREAT!

Kimberly...I almost bought Eat, Pray & Love last week at the bookstore. Then I read a blurb about it and wished I had bought it. I've got a coupon for Books-a-million burning a hole in my pocket...so I guess I've got a good excuse to use it now. When a book title crosses my path 3 times...I pay attention, and that book is calling my name. I'll have to check out "You've Got to Read This" blog. Sounds like it might be right up my alley. Thanks.

Chris...Reading is almost like breathing...I need to do it, and there's never a shortage of books that I want to read. I'll have to live til at least 120 in order to read them all.

NanaK said...

What a great presentation of what you are currently enjoying reading. Lately, I've been reading a series by Brock and Bodie Thoene. They write historical fiction with a Christian point of view. I've learned a lot of history from their writing. I'll have to give a look at your list of books.

PS - I answered your question about Eureka Springs on the comments of my last blog post.

shirlgirl said...

Oh how I enjoyed your latest blog. I love both gardening and reading and you have brought the two together so beautifully. When you have a book and it is on the subject of gardening now that is the best of both worlds, just add your favorite coffee and it just doesn't get much better. I just received a book from Amazon on the letters between John and Abigail Adams so I thought it interesting that Susan also had a good one on John Adams. Thanks for all of the tips on good reading material and a lovely post.

Susan said...

Kay...I've never heard of Brock & Bodie, I'll have to check them out. I'm always in search of a good book...and a series is an extra bonus if you love the books. I'll check out your answer about Eureka Springs. Thanks!

ShirlGirl...Hi and welcome! Thanks for your kind words. I TOTALLY agree with you...a good book and a good cup of coffee...what could be better? Another book on "letters"...sounds very interesting. A lot can be gleaned about people from their letters...a great insight into history.

Rhonda said...

I haven't stopped to read much this summer and I usually have 2-3 books going at a time also. I like your suggestions. Looks like a trip to the library today. Too hot to garden anyway.

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