something easy

There's something about summer. The heat sends you back in time to nights at the drive-in, the sun setting slowly over the mountains, and some really bad music blaring over the car stereo.

I'm listening to Offspring's Pretty Fly for a White Guy right now, sending me right back in time to Grade 11 or 12. Around the same time my best friends and I used to to be in love with a guy that worked at the Dairy Queen. Is there anything better than ice cream and crushes? Well, we weren't all in love with him, just one of the girls was, but I'm fairly certain we helped his ego along as a group.

Anyway. Summer is a tough time to concentrate on anything, let alone blogging or excellent novels or well-written books examining important issues.

Half the time, summer is really when I start re-reading all the "classics" on my bookshelves.

Like this gem, described as "a jaunty tale of love and murder" by Publishers Weekly. No concentration needed at all for a slightly naughty, always hilarious book of one woman's perfect life reduced to a cheating husband who is murdered, the lusty return of her high school crush, and gentle battles with her eight-year-old daughter. I love Crusie for the women she creates, who don't need to be saved and don't want to be married, who embrace themselves before all others.

For those who long to travel at this time of year, I offer up Sarah Smith's Chasing Shakespeares, an adventure in Shakespeare and academia. I know, sounds a little dry. But the dialogue's quicker and wittier than A.S. Byatt's Possession, and it's more a romp than a love story. And who doesn't want to romp when it's this hot? Besides, it makes one imagine a time when London would have been all muddy and dirty and 1600s-ish.

Last of all, for my friend Erin, I submit Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, a touching story that frankly makes me think more of snow and winter boots than summer (thanks to the movie, really), but is perhaps the best of all romps. Yes, a comment on the American Civil War. But also a tale of love and decision-making and doing what's right for you, not what people expect you to do. Who did not want to be Jo? I wished my brother would dress up with me and play out the ridiculous stories I created. (My brother wished that I would participate in his band. We met halfway by turning the fridge box into a newspaper office.) I loved her pre-feminism feminist mom. And I wished for Laurie -- especially when I realized he looked like Christian Bale. I cried and cried at the end.

What to read now? Something cheap and paperbacky....

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