It’s officially summer, and that means it’s officially summer vacation time! And that always seems to mean “What’s on your summer reading list?”
My reading list is season-less, and never-ending and ever-growing. As much as I value my reading time (the only truly relaxing activity I do), as with so many other adults, I rarely get or make time to do it. So, books sit half-read waiting for some down time. Others just pile up, although since I try to limit myself to e-books these days, I can’t really see them stacked up. Maybe that’s the problem!
Someday I will finish reading The Conquest of Nature, by David Blackbourn. I’ve been working on it a while now, but it’s serious reading, and I need dedicated time to concentrate on it. Sadly, I suspect that by the time I finish it, I will have forgotten the beginning. This is a huge book, so it will not be something I take on a flight to read in the plane. One history book I did recently finish is Brave Companions: Portraits in History, by David McCullough. This is a great travel book because it’s a collection of short stories about men and women who had an impact on the world. Alexander von Humboldt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harry Caudill, Francis P. Valentine…. some are familiar names, some are new to me. It’s inspiring to me, to read about the challenges and triumphs of these people, as well as to consider how lucky we are to benefit from their experiences. Still in the history genre, I recently received the latest bulletin from the German Historical Institute. The essays in the bulletins tend to be more modern German history so when one arrives that has something late 19th century related, I get very excited – this one is about post-1848 popular press, a topic that I researched for my Master’s Thesis. It’s long and intellectual, so it will require an evening dedicated to reading, but I’m pretty excited. I miss getting to do research, and I loved my topic, so anything that keeps it fresh makes me happy. The Mechanic and I are in the early planning stages for a trip to Iceland next February or March, so I have collected a stack of tourism books. Our only goal for the trip is to see the Aurora Borealis (fingers crossed!), but there is plenty of other stuff to do as well. I don’t know how much hiking I’ll want to do in the winter, but there are museums, cooking classes, the Blue Lagoon, whale watching tours, and a bridge across the Continental Divide! If you haven’t yet read Bikeyface’s Bike There book, I strongly encourage it – it’s not very long, and in her famous and beloved cartoon style. If you have friends who are interested but concerned, this would be a great gift as well. I wish I could get dozens of copies and hand them out to people on my bike rides. I am hoping that this summer I’ll finally get around to reading the rest of Bikenomics, by Elly Blue. As much as I love biking, I find it hard to read “industry” books in my free time. But this is a classic and I need to finish it. I would much rather read books about biking that are history, fiction, fictionalized, or children’s books. I found some fun ones on A Mighty Girl’s website. Tillie the Terrible Swede, about a woman who sews and bikes; Bicycle Madness, about a girl and a suffragette in the late 1800s; the sweet story of The Girl and The Bicycle; and one I’ve wanted to read for a while now, Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom. I know there are more like this out there, but these should keep me busy for a while.