summer_readingThe Memorial Day weekend is upon us and here in the U.S. that means summertime is kicking off. It’s the season of beaches, pools, quiet shady spots, and, for readers like us, the time when we’re all on the lookout for the Perfect Summer Read.

When I was a kid, a highlight of summer was always the championship levels I achieved in the local library’s reading club – you know, the kind of thing where you got a different colored construction paper star for the number of books you read? Believe me, I was always on the top rung.

But as we grow up, most of us don’t have the entire summer to do as we please.  (It sucks, doesn’t it?) We’re limited to a week or two of vacation and weekends as lazy as we can possibly make them.

I’ve always had a problem reading on the beach since there’s so much to see and experience that I have a hard time concentrating for any length of time.  I’m full of big plans about the books I’ll read and take w-a-a-a-a-y too many, but I get most of my vacation reading done in my room or sitting in a quiet, shaded spot sipping a Corona.

I remember, though, one moment on a perfect beach finding what was to me the Perfect Summer Read.

I was in Jamaica and, if you’ve ever been there, you know that the turquoise waters and white beaches are about as perfect as perfect can be, so the setting was heavy on distraction potential. The book: Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts.  I’d bought it because I knew Roberts as the author of some of my very favorite series romances, but I’d never tried her single titles before. (I was a big MacGregor junkie.  Big.)  I think it was the glamour of the setting, the larger than life characters, and the page-turning storytelling that triumphed and kept my attention focused despite the tempting distractions of that perfect beach.  A monumental author glom was born.

Generally, I want big in the summer – books that feature lives far more interesting and glamorous than my own. Still, in total contradiction to what I just wrote,  it’s a rare summer when I don’t get around to re-reading Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.  The steamy heat of that late Ohio summer seems even more steamy when I’m sitting on my balcony, kicking back with the book and a glass of wine in the midst of my own steamy (!) summer.

Despite the way many books are marketed as “perfect summer reads,” I think that each of us has our very own definition of just what that is.  For every Nora Roberts fan, there’s somebody at the pool reading (or, perhaps more accurately, pretending to read) Ulysses.

So, here’s the question of the day:  What makes a Perfect Summer Read for you?  Are there any favorites you re-read when the hot weather hits?

– Sandy AAR