Some books correspond to certain seasons. The longer I read, the more I thought about it. In winter, I turn to poems, pieces of prose, pages defined by their spaces, pages informed by their proximity to snow. With summer comes the heat, comes the design, comes the long and hard word, the sentences that can withstand the demands presented by the humidity – you need a grinder, something that it can block your mind until you feel hot and lazy. So, the “summer novel,” is a genre unto itself.
They are different from reading on the beach, those dream vacations. A summer journal is a spiritual endeavor, a prism through which to look back and understand each summer. Like the perfume used during a relationship or Billboard hit, a summer record can hold an entire season in its essence. It doesn’t have to be fiction—”summer fiction” is a misnomer, I confess, as the term suggests—but, I believe, it should involve some rule.
You need a sweater, something that can hold your breath until you’re sweatiest.
First: length. The length and thickness of the body should allow you to balance in one hand while eating a piece of fruit with the other, the sweet juices of apricot or peach flowing with heat. summer heat. As a book, it is important in a certain way, it may be called normal – there is a shock of the campus in my experience, a feeling borrowed, from years of reading in the summer. But each book, and the reason for choosing it, the title should – at the end of the season – become something short, code, that immediately calls up memories about the last hot hour. . After many years I can read, like well-crafted mnemonics, the titles that become bookmarks for their season.
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2014: Summer of Middlemarchthe summer of Elena Ferrante Departure Dates, they read the summer I turned 24, the summer I retired, the summer I was single, the summer I started to notice how easy it was to start having feelings. 2015: The summer I read an article about a new translation of The Story of Genji and I saw myself with the meaning of the word smelling sweet—like the sweet prince, Genji’s grandson, Niou—I quickly ran to the bookstore and bought a copy, all 1,179 pages. (Maybe I could have finished it easily, I think now, if I hadn’t started reading it at the end of July.) 2012: The summer I graduated from college, the summer of Simone de Beauvoir. The Mandarins, Read while standing, holding letters, in Boston’s Faneuil House. An elderly woman dropped her charms and tapped a condescending finger on the cover—“That’s a different book,” she told me, “to read in a place like this. Are you a smart girl?”
Is it me? Am I wise, or am I foolish – all youthful angst, no power to go? That’s what memory is, fiction — all the emotions come together, and time collapses. A summer story gives you something solid, something to hold on to. “That summer we bought a lot of straw hats,” Margarita Liberaki began Three Sorrowssummer of 2019. “When we lay in the grass field wearing them, the sky, the wildflowers, and the three of us melted into one.…”
Am I wise, or am I foolish – all youthful angst, no power to go?
There are many things to do in the summer. As part of the time, it is wise, pure, three months of distilled and pure know, in the historical sense of the word. The mix between summer, reading, and fun, Katy Waldman looks at The New Yorker, is a new phenomenon, born in the 19th century, when “the city and the summer development were given a new glow – it gave an opportunity to escape the boring city and filled with abundance and again with nature.” Michelle Dean argued that “vacation reading is no longer a new concept” in a 2016 review of the term “beach reading” in The Guard. “But it wasn’t until the mass circulation of paperbacks in America in the middle of the last century that you started to see the beach paired with a page-turning thriller.” I was not familiar with the summer novel, the redefinition of the striver; What I’m trying to do, I know now, is to take care, set a pattern, and set myself up for some kind of study. But I should know better. Now, I have to accept that life is a series of opportunities, of random encounters and what-ifs. Summer of 2004: The first time I read it Anna Karenina, and I am very young; I don’t understand. But one thing is clear: the image of Anna’s dark eyes, the magic of her movements on the ball. And Vronsky looked—tempting and sad, a terrible evil—Anna’s dark eyes, meeting.
How I spent my summer vacation: A cliché, yes, a schoolboy essay, a classic show. But I know what I did: I read. I read on the train, and I read in the car. I read at rest, and I read on the way to and from the office; I read by a pool when my family gets together, and I read in my room restlessly because I don’t have AC. I read in another country, and I read when I was confined in one place because of the flu. I read as a student, and as an adult. Of course, I close the books, stand up, put on lipstick, and go out to dinner, a date, a drink, a concert, but I explain, and I continue to explain, my summers turn on pages, ideas. where I swept. This is a manifesto of sorts; I am a reader, no matter the season. But in the summer it’s amazing; in summer there is something electric in the air, something we cannot explain outside the realm of description, metaphor, literature. Another idea. And at the end of the summer, the book of the summer will fulfill one of my most important requirements of the summer book: At the end, I will immediately allow myself to be nostalgic for those hot hours gone by.
Rhian Sasseen lives in New York. His work is well known BOMB, The Paris Review, T saida Poetry Foundation, The Yale Reviewand more.
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