Lazy, Hazy Book DaysI 
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 07:00PM
Cheryl Crotty

I'm thinking screened porch, bench in the labyrinth garden, a lounge chair on the deck...a table with lemonade, perhaps a glass of wine or a cup of tea, depending on the time of day...I'm thinking, summer is here and that must mean more quality reading time...time to just sit back, gather up the pile and work my way through all those books I meant to read last winter. Today I want to share with you some of my favorites that I have recently read that would make great summer reads.   I am truly a bibliophile and I read every day, even if it's only the packaging on a new roll of toilet here we go.

The photo above is a mixed bag but that makes for interesting reading.  One book really surprised me and that was The Tea Rose.  My husband had given this book to me several years ago for Christmas knowing that I loved tea and anything English...It was a big hardcover, over 700 pages, so I didn't give it much merit these past few years...then one day, just on a whim, walking by the bookshelf, I grabbed it and it sucked me in. Those 700 pages few by me in a nano second.   I think anyone who likes Downton Abbey would love this..They are not the same, in the sense of the story, but they are equally compelling with marvelous characters that grow on you.  I love this discription of the book.  "The Tea Rose is the kind of book that calls for a rainy day, a cozy chair, and a good steaming cup of tea, It's strong and satisfying, with a taste that lingers in the memory." That is a quote from Paula Cohen, author of Gramercy Park.   I loved the book so much that after finishing it, I went to Amazon to see if Jennifer Donnelly had written anything else and what a surprise...this book was the first in a trilogy...oh happy day.  I have now read the second book, much more comfortable in paperback and yes, another 700 pages but The Winter Rose was equally as good..I also have the third book in the series, The Wild Rose...ah but I'm saving that for just the right time.

Moving on to a much shorter book but a most beloved story is Astrid & Veronika.  If you have ever had the experience and love of an older, wiser woman in your will feel this book to your core.  I did have a lovely lady like Astrid in my life, and at times she saved my life, so this book had special meaning for me...Aside from the writing and the story line...A dreamlike evocation of the power of Friendship, the cover for sure will draw you in. Maybe that is what pulled me in the beginning.  It is a beautiful photo, the kind of photo that I have been working on in my classes with Kim Klassen.  With this book you are invited to "dance with the mist." 

One of my all time favorite authors is Anne Lamott.   I admire her courage to fight her own demons and become a believer in her own way.  She write about the everyday things that we all deal with from time to time and speaks her truth.  What a wonderful gift it is to know your truth and not be afraid to claim it.  Help, Thanks, Wow..get right to the point about keeping prayer simple.   "Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior."  I think that's quite true...Bonus, it's only 102 pages..So not only a summer reading book, it just needs a couple of days..and it might just change the way you think.

For those of you who have never read Paul Auster, give yourself the gift of his literature.  An amazingly talented writer and I suppose because of my age Winter Journal was a terrific read for me.  I also think it's a terrific read for any age, looking at life through the eyes of someone who has lived more than 60 years..A lot of understanding of those around us and for us who are there, a book that understands us as we age. Paul wrote this book exactly one month before his sixty-fourth birthday. The interesting twist here is that he wrote this book as seen through the history of his body.  I just loved it.  His writing is brilliant and that alone makes it a good, funny and genuine read.

Last but certainly not least in the general reading group is a book by Morgan Callan Rogers called Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea..The Book is set in Maine (a place near and dear to my heart) and is the story of a young girl whose Mother disappears and her childhood is turned upside down.  It's also the story of the "year rounders" and those that visit Maine each summer..set in 1963 it's a story full of voices as crisp as the New England air they breathe.  Red Ruby Heart in A Cold Blue Sea is an extraordinary snapshot of a bygone America through the eyes of an inspiring girl blazing her own path to womanhood.   I loved it.  As the summer moves on and I try to fit more reading time in, if something else really good comes along, I'll let you know..

Before finishing though...I do have two lovely books for kids that I would like to share.

I know I said these were children's books and technically they are but oh how I love them...I love them for their beauty and for there very wise a real story book and one that can be picked up at any time and just read a few of the's all good, even if you don't have little ones at your house..

Miss Rumphius is a Winner of the American Book Award..A New York Times Best Book of the Year.  Once, a long time ago, Miss Rumphius was a little girl named Alice who lived in a city by the sea.  When she grew up, she wanted to travel to see faraway places and then come home to live by the sea, just as her Grandfathter had.  But there was one thing more she had to do.  What is that? Alice asked her Grandfather.  "You must do something to make the world more beautiful", he told her.   Enjoy the words and the illustrations.

My go to, feel good book and one my Grandson #1 loves is the Teddy Bear Philosophy.   Who can argue with a loving Teddy Bear.  Things my Teddy Bear Taught me About Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Some books you just have to have in the house.  This is one of those books.  "What's Up and What's Down...largely depends on your perspective."

 Two really great cookbooks for you to enjoy...the recipes are wonderful but the real attraction here are the stories and the photo's...the photo's are just magical in both books but completely different.  What Kate Ate is like looking at great photo's with a could actually make these recipes.   Another set of photo's that reminds me so much of Kim Klassen and her photography style. The  Back in the Day Cookbook..really captured my heart though..because I just love the South and they are the best cooks...or bakers mostly.   I loved this book so much that someday I plan to visit their restaurant.  How they met and how they share the business is great reading also and I've even marked up some of the pages so that I can try to make photo's just like I highly recommend both of these...No need to buy them, just visit your local library to try them out.

For those of you who are fans of Kinfolk or The Art of Blogging you might like to give Sweet Paul a try.  I just came across this recently and I have enjoyed the recipes and photography very much.  This is my first issue and I haven't finished it yet but it sure is good porch reading.  Amazing how many magazines are now coming out with sturdy paper and beautiful photo's...almost book like...this one was a bit difficult to find but I'm sure you'll come across it in your travels as it's readership grows..

I know this post turned out to be way longer than I intended but that's what happens when "BOOKS" come up with me...I just love to share what I love.   And for sure, if you have any that you think I might love please add them to the comment box.   Amazon is like going on a picnic to me...  Happy Summer Reading.

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