Reinstituted: Summer Reading

It’s official. I will be adding in specific time this summer for reading. Not just reading, but…yes, I”ll say it: PLEASURE reading!

The last few days have been pretty jitter-buggy around here, with my writing on hold for fun family stuff. It was hard at first, but then I really saw that I’ve been applying just a bit too much pressure to myself. How do I define “too much” pressure?

  • The amount of pressure that makes you step away from productivity and cross the line back into spinning fruitlessly in your own socks.

That would be the technical explanation.

I will write and write and write this summer. My editor just sent me an email saying that The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guidewill probably be on its way to copy edits soon. (Whee!) I’m going to get that first draft of the YA done, done, done–if not by June 30th, but soon after. I’m going to play outline with another nonfiction project.

And I’m going to do research. Four more books have shown up (mysteriously!!) in my mailbox, all about Chicago history and women and garment workers and “fun.” I’ll be making my way through those.

But I am also making a commitment to myself to push all of those away for at least a short time–30 minutes or an hour–as many days as I can. I just grabbed three more books by Tamora Pierce at the library today, and I feel like my son when he discovered Terry Pratchett. Ms. Pierce can keep me in relaxed, curl-up-and-dream reading ALL summer long! When I was a kid, even a teen, that was my favorite thing about summer–all that reading time. Reading whatever books I felt like, rather than something a teacher thought I should pick up. I want that back.

Son and I are discussing going with the whole siesta thing. Our house is almost 100 years old (I think!) and insulation is not in it’s vocabulary. So, during the summer, from about 2:00-4:00, it tends to bake a bit. We use fans, and it’s tolerable, but the brain synapses don’t always fire so great. We’re talking about meeting on the couch with books and popsicles, pointing the fans straight at ourselves and declaring it READING TIME.

Okay, I’m talking about it, with strong hints that this would NOT be a good time for video game noises. But he’s listening. And nodding a bit.

Frankly, I see this as therapy. And recharging. And a recognition that the word vacation IS an important part of the summer months.

What about you? Got your summer reads picked out yet? Your nesting/escaping spot in the house, or by the pool? Fridge stocked with your favorite cold drink?

Let’s all relax together this summer…just a bit and just enough!


  1. P. J. Hoover says:

    Love the idea!
    And it bakes here too, which makes this such a great idea. I’ll start it TODAY!
    I have my summer picks on my shelf to take me through mid-July probably. Then I get to go shopping again!


  2. Claudine says:

    What a fun read that was, Becky! I’m very inspired by your well-thought out life. Focusing on writing, but not forgetting the rejuvenation of fun. And I can’t wait till your book comes out on crit groups!


    • beckylevine says:

      Claudine, I don’t know if I’ve actually got it well-thought-out, or if I just spend too much time thinking about it!


  3. Your plans sound wonderful! I have to make it through the school year before I can think much about what I’m going to read. But yes, reading and writing are always a part of my summer plans. I want to push through to the end of my WIP (finally!). This summer, I’m also taking a 6 hour a week figure drawing intensive and a portrait class. Reading under the fan with popsicles sounds great! Enjoy.


    • beckylevine says:

      Boy, your ability to write AND do art always blows me away. You’re going to have a great summer!


  4. Mim Caldwell says:

    I find that giving myself the free reading time makes me much more productive. But I personally have to be careful not to shut out the world. I’m really good at disappearing into a book, and ignoring everything else around me. I haven’t picked out many summer books yet, but I’m sure I’ll find some!


    • beckylevine says:

      Mim, yes, I think I need that refresh for energy. But yes, also, no disappearing into a story for hours and hours and putting writing too much on hold! 🙂


  5. Shawna says:

    LOL! You see, I’m lucky. I read Tamora Pierce for research purposes. ; ) I do study her techniqes, while I’m basking in her wonderful world-building and her perfect characterization. I can’t lose myself in books until the kids go to sleep (for another 4 years or so) but that was my favorite part of summer too!

    This summer? Lots and lots of ice water. The one thing my house boasts is excellent insulation so I’m lucky. That and I’ll go outside, douse myself with water and then come back inside feeling much cooler. : )


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