This week, Summer 2013 officially ends. Everyone’s back to work full-steam. Me too.
I’m always sad to see August go. August is my favorite summer month. It’s slow and still. It seems not just okay to be lazy but appropriate. Funny to feel that way now because when I was growing up, August was the dull middle of our three-month L.A. city school summer vacation. My family didn’t do summer camp and family vacations were rare. By August, I was more than ready for school to start. Until then, I spent my days sweating in our un-airconditioned Northeast L.A. home, doing crafts, hanging out with friends, swimming at the public pool, and escaping to the air-conditioned public library. And I read. A lot.
Certain summers are branded in my memory by the books I read.
As a preteen, I inhaled tales of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden (I liked Trixie a little more than Nancy). At thirteen, I once stayed in my room all day reading Rosemary’s Baby in one sitting. I spent another day inside weeping through Love Story. At fourteen, I was mesmerized by In Cold Blood. At fifteen,I identified with Mattie in True Grit and Mick in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. At sixteen, my mom nagged me to do chores while I was holed up with The Good Earth.
The summer before my freshman year at UCLA, a friend gave me a paperback of The Dain Curse. I escaped with Dashiell Hammett which led to sweet, dark hours with Raymond Chandler. Cruising around L.A., my hometown, in my used 1964 Ford Falcon, I saw the city through new lenses.
The summer before I went to France for my Junior Year Abroad, I was entranced with bohemians: Henry Miller, Anais Nin, and Jack Kerouac. After my junior year ended, I traveled through Europe and took along the glamorous and adrift American expats in Tender is the Night and The Sun Also Rises.
In recent years, the slowness of August has inspired me to pick up books that I’ve long meant to read including Lonesome Dove, Tom Jones, Rebecca, and the Grapes of Wrath. I often reread The Great Gatsby in which it’s perennially a long, hot August night. This past August, I finally got around to reading Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone during a weekend at the beach. Loved it.
I hope you had a pleasant summer. For your fall reading, you might consider:
- The Iris Thorne Mysteries, my first series. All five are again on sale, now available as eBooks and trade paperbacks, including the final book, Pushover, never before published in the U.S.
- Love Kills, the most recent in my Detective Nan Vining series.
New books are coming! In 2014, Random House will be publishing my stand-alone, paranormal mystery. It’s as yet untitled, although we’ve gone through several titles, which is a story for another day. I’m also writing a new Detective Nan Vining mystery. I’m very happy to see what Nan, Emily, and Jim have been up to since Love Kills.