My Summer Slump

It is June 28, and I have yet to finish a book. Actually, I finished Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, which I started a few weeks ago, but I have abandoned two books. What happened to my summer reading ambition? I had dreams of flying through my summer reading list, soaking up books like the sun's rays, but I just can't find my groove. What is wrong with me?

During the first week of June, I started reading The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy, a memoir about his year of teaching on Yamacraw, a tiny, remote island off the coast of South Carolina. Since I dubbed this my "Summer of Conroy" in honor of our trip to Folly Beach, I thought this was a good first selection to kick off my summer reading frenzy. Simply put: it was not the right book to ignite my summer reading flame. I will pick it back up at some point, but now is not that time. Also, my father-in-law became very sick and had to go into the hospital during the second week of June. Due to his illness, we canceled our trip to Georgia and South Carolina, so it became too painful to read about a place that I always dreamed of visiting, but I wouldn't get to see after all. I finally finished Mockingbird at this time, an intense, emotional read that reminded me of Out of Mind (but not as good). Then I decided to pick a book from my summer reading list, so I settled on The Little Women Letters. Once again, a good book but not the right book. So I have abandoned it. It has taken me a long time to accept my own advice that I so freely give my students: Life is too short to read a book that doesn't keep you captivated.

The fantastic news is that our vacation is back on due to my father-in-law's rapid recovery. So we are packing our bags, and as soon as I finish teaching the Abydos Institute on Thursday, we are jumping in the car and driving to Summertown, Georgia, to attend the Bailey family reunion. We will meet my in-laws and Jason's oldest brothers' family there after a stopping for the night in Meridian, Mississippi. On Sunday, we will all drive three hours north to Folly Beach, South Carolina, where we will have a beach house for seven nights. I will finally get to walk the streets of Charleston and maybe, just maybe, bump into Pat Conroy. Needless to say, I am excited.

Energized by the promise of an on-again vacation, I set out to find my perfect summer read. Thanks to the awesomeness of my Kindle, I stumbled upon it. After reading the free sample, I purchased Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews, and it downloaded through the miracle of technology in less than 30 seconds (I am still amazed by the power of the Kindle). Even though this book is not on my summer reading list, it is the right book for now--beachy, mindless, perfect.

Next week I will be sitting on Folly Beach reading the perfect book for the perfect time--it's what I've pictured myself doing since we booked the trip in February. I am grateful to be going on this vacation with my precious family, and I am grateful for the freedom to abandon in the pursuit of that just-right book.


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