Summer always takes me back South… I took this photo of Wilmington, NC, from across the Cape Fear River, in the late '70s. The large steeple is First Presbyterian Church. This is a copy from a slide.
Summer is coming fast. The dogwoods are blooming, leaves on the maples are unfurling and the oaks are beginning to bud. Reviewing my calendar, I can’t believe how busy the summer already looks… In late May, I’ll be heading south for ten days, digging my toes into the sand along the Carolina coast and checking up on my mother and grandmother and others in the family. In late June, I’ll be flying out to San Francisco for a convention. I’ve already booked my ticket, tagging on a few (4) extra days so I can head up into the Sierras and maybe check in on my old stomping grounds around Virginia City, Nevada. Unfortunately, the Giants are out of town when I’m there, but I hope to catch a game in Oakland. Then in late July, I will volunteer at a camp where my daughter will be spending a week (my daughter insisted, she really did). Then in August, I’m taking off with a few other guys for a week of wilderness canoeing and fishing in the Quetico of Western Ontario. Counting travel, I’ll be gone another ten days then. They’ll also be a few shorter trips…
With the onslaught of summer, comes the onslaught of summer reading challenges… Last summer I enjoyed Maggie’s Southern Reading Challenge and I’m signing up again. This year, for some reason, her summer is running from May 15 to August 15. Is that because down there in Mississippi, it’s so hot and sweaty in late August, one’s perspiration will ruin the pages of a book. Whatever the reason, I’ll abide by the rules.
Although I hold the right to change, these are the books I’m proposing for my Southern Reading Challenge:
Michael Malone, Handling Sin. This is not a “how-to” book! It’s a novel. Supposedly it’s funny and from the reviews sound a lot like the Martin Clark books I read last summer. I’m waiting on Clark’s next book, but it’s not due out till sometime in July.
Janisse Ray, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. This memoir is set in rural Georgia.
Greg Bottoms, Sentimental Heartbroken Redneck: Stories. These short stories are set in Virginia. Wonder if any of these stories are about rednecks ironing their own shirts?
I’m also going to try a second reading challenge, Thoughts of Joy’s “Five Non-fiction Challenge. This challenge runs from May 1 through September. These are the books I’m planning on reading in this challenge:
Cary J. Griffith, Lost in the Wild. I finished this book yesterday and will review it shortly. It’s about two different individuals lost in the remote wilderness of the Boundary Waters and the Quetico in northern Minnesota and western Ontario. One of the guys I’m canoeing with later this summer recommended it. I think it had to do with me arguing for us to go into Northern Ontario and making a quip that the Quetico wasn’t “that remote.” I hope I don’t have to eat my words…
Joseph M. Marshall III, The Journey of Crazy Horse. At Diane’s recommendation, I started listening to this book on my ipod on Thursday. I like what I’ve heard so far; I’m an hour into a 12 hour book.
Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and the Revolution of Hope. A few years ago, I enjoyed McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy. He’s thought provoking about the role the church should be playing in the world.
Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town. This book has been on my nightstand for nearly two years…. I need to read it. Besides, I like Theroux’s writings even if I would never want to travel with him.
Robert Quinn, Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within. This is a business book written by a University of Michigan professor. I’ll see what he has to say.
As of now, I’m not planning on running a DamnYankee Reading Challenge this summer… Last year, it started as a parody and ended up with a life of its own. As a southerner in exile up here, I figure a Yankee Reading Challenge is best left to the Yankees… (Murf or Ed, either of you up for the hosting?)
What’s your summer plans and what books will you be totting along?