Summer is for Reading

“The heart has its own time. How incredibly fleet are the happy hours, and how leaden slow the sad ones.  The clock cannot hurry the sorrowful minutes a jot, nor clip the wings of the joyous ones!”

Gladys Taber, Stillmeadow Seasons

When I was twelve years old I ran away. Well, not literally; I just hid in my room away from my four brothers and sisters and all the noise of summer.  I wanted a quiet place alone, an escape from my all-too-ordinary life, into another more peaceful one full of beauty and kindness.

Not that my siblings were markedly mean in anyway, but when I was in charge, as I often was, there were a lot of moving parts—we didn’t always fit each other. I, the bossy big sister (a ‘grown up’ 12 years old) and my younger charges—ages 7 to 11–were always getting into one scrape or another. All I wanted was peace and quiet and a place to feed my soul instead of making bologna sandwiches to feed everyone else.

The best place to find my escape was in the pages of a book. 

I can still remember lying on my bed with “Little Women,” Louisa May Alcott’s story written (I thought) just for me. Why? The heroine-Jo (my mother’s nickname for me) was not only the oldest, but  the bookish one—we were exactly alike. Well, except for the long dresses and bustles…

The pages of “Little Women” afforded me a get away like no other. Lying on the bed in our humble Southern California house I was transported to a world of make believe and dress-up, parties, plays, and my favorite—for I wanted to be a writer,too—the pages of the Pickwick Portfolio.

Alcott’s “Rose in Bloom” caught my fancy next, a story of a young girl and her beaux, a coming-of-age story that resonated with my almost-13-year-old soul.

Gene Stratton Porter’s  “Freckles” was another favorite; I still have my copy, Joanna Lee Ohlsen written in cursive on the right inside cover. My own father left us when I was 5; we were being raised by my stepfather at the time. I think there was something in my spirit that was looking for a place to belong, a connection of sorts that Freckles needed as well. And of course, there was his ‘cathedral.’ All these years later it’s clear there were many sacred echoes in that story.


This summer is no different. I have my bookstacks all ready. The ‘vacation’ pile—for our 2 week trip to see relatives in New York (but who am I kidding? Will I even have time?)

And there’s the California stack for my week with my sisters…a little more low key; plus, there’s beach time, hence book time.  I might make more progress.

Whether I read these choices in the next summer-y months or into the Fall, the lure and escape of  good literature is always there. My favorites are authors like Elizabeth Goudge, George MacDonald, Gladys Taber, writers from over 60 years ago who somehow seem to mine deeper and richer words than those writers of today.

Someone has said that all good stories lead to God, which is why I still like to get lost in the pages of a book, listening for those sacred echoes.

What are you reading this Summer?

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23 thoughts on “Summer is for Reading

  1. Wonderful Jody! I love your new look and I may ask your advice when I finally take the leap as well. Wonderful book selections and makes summer all the more joyous! Much love!

  2. I LOVE the new look! Wonderful photos, too–a delight for the eye. Yes, books!! I’m reading The Return of the King and have Fervent, Dandelion Wine and Roots in queue for now.

  3. Your space here is beautiful! And summer reading? One of my favorite topics. Right now I’m reading the Wingfeather saga by Andrew Peterson. I’m almost done and I can’t get enough! Blessings on your reading and this new place, friend. You sure have been a blessing to me 🙂

    1. Thank you, Laura….your words are very kind. I’ve heard good things about Peterson’s trilogy from KCIreton. Gonna have to add it to my “Books to Read” list. I do hope there’s a Reading Room in Heaven, I can’t possibly read all the books I want to down here!

  4. You know that you are speaking my language here, sister! Love this… and love your new space here, too! Happy Reading, my friend!

  5. Congrats! Your new digs look fabulous!

  6. Congratulations on taking the big step, Jody. 🙂 Enjoy the new place.

  7. Your new site is elegant; I like it.

    The Gladys Taber quote speaks directly to me heart today.

    The rest of your post made me smile. Thank you.

    It brought me back to scenes of curling on a couch in a room away from everyone else (they watched TV). Like many of your readers, I ran we glee to The Bookmobile instead of the TV Guide.

    I, too, have books everywhere: baskets, shelves, floor table. And, like someone else wrote, I wish I read faster. Yet, I wonder if I truly wish that. I could probably read faster, but I feel like I would miss the richness of the words.

    1. Carol, I would have to agree, if we tried to read ‘faster’ (than what? I always wonder…) we would indeed miss the richness of the words.
      Thanks for your kind words~I appreciate your support.

  8. Jody- What a wonderful post to kick off your new home and the summer! Love that you took the leap! I too escaped with Little Women and Jo and her siblings and the dreamy Laurie. I too watched my sisters in the summer and was the bossy big sister. I love Curate’s Awakening by George M…life changer for me! Thanks for reminding me of it with your stack. I was just asking the Divine Librarian, as I think your friend Kimberlee or someone in the blogosphere has coined, for a good read for my next book. I think I’ll hop over to my blog and invite my readers to come visit you here! your kindred St. Louis spirit sister-Kel

    1. Kel, you are too kind…thanks for thinking of me in your sharing. there are so many good books, eh? (‘The Divine Librarian’ is a term coined by Laura Barkat at Tweetspeak Poetry, author of God in the Yard…the book I talk about so much 🙂
      your kindred Seattle spirit sister~

  9. Things look great, miss Jody!

    Right now I’m busy reading stacks and piles and oodles of medical research, but come next week I hope to be a summertime page-flipper of for pleasure reader.


    1. Ahhhhh, I pray that The Divine Librarian will guide you to just the right ‘summertime page-flipper’ that will indeed bring you pleasure.

  10. what a delightful new home – may many be blessed here!

  11. What would summer be without books?! I cannot imagine. Your post took me back to my own childhood when we lived just three or four blocks from the library and my mother allowed me to walk there by myself. (Hard to believe we had such freedom back then!) What a privilege to go whenever I liked and choose four (I always went for the limit!) familiar friends–like Beverly Cleary–or find new ones. (I remember falling in love with “Hitty–Her First Hundred Years” by Rachel Field and “Understood Betsy,” by Dorothy C. Fisher.) Fast forward to yesterday and I was at the library again. I hope I’ve chosen three winners! Though I do keep a list of recommendations from various sources, I also love the hunt–reading the titles, the fly-leaf, and discovering a book, a new author, that sparks my interest. One of yesterday’s choices is bound to please: Bodie and Brock Thoene’s, “When Jesus Wept,” the first volume of the Jerusalem Chronicles. As for spiritual refreshment, I’m reading “The Joyful Christian” by C. S. Lewis, a compilation of his writings in 127 separate readings. I so appreciate the logic he brings to theology. Sorry, Jody, that this comment grew so long. Get me “talking” about books and I have plenty to say!!

    1. Oh, we are all booklovers around here. ‘Writers are Readers’ as they say. You piqued my interest with some new/old book titles–thank you!

  12. I love the new site, Jody! Good job taking the leap ; ) As for your reading stack – despite my recent post, I, too, have a stack. It’s one that I’ll never get through in the summer months, and it just frustrates me that I’m such a slow reader. But the reading list will not rule me! Enjoy your summer.

    1. Hmmmm…thank you! I’m so pleased with the new look, too. Ah, book stacks….kind of like eating an elephant, one at a time. I, too, take forever to read as I’m always underlining and savoring the words. Here’s to savoring!

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