The school year is winding down and the spring sports season came to a close last week. I find myself frantically emailing other mothers asking for summer camp suggestions–anything that will keep my kids from sitting in front of the tv all day, or complaining about not being allowed to sit in front of it all day, or secretly hiding in closets with an iPad, hoping I won’t notice the muffled noise of the Disney Channel escaping under the crack of the door all day.
In the past, we visited the library at least once a week during the summer. I’d set the kids loose on the stacks and find a quiet nook to read a book of my own. Now that my kids are older, this form of parental torture won’t do. If it doesn’t bounce or make noise or produce moving pictures, they’re not interested. I had great plans for my own reading this summer, with new books stacked under the coffee table and library-ready lists tucked away for easy picking. As it stands right now, (Husband, avert your eyes) I have sixteen books sitting in a pile waiting for me to crack their spine. I get a delicious shiver just thinking about it.
A few weeks ago, my friend Liz emailed to say her new book was just released here in the USA. I’ve known Liz for years, having met in London over a decade ago. At that time, with two littles and a world that revolved entirely around their sleep schedule (or lack of it, as the case may be), the most I could hope to know about a new friend was their name and where they lived in relation to a train station. I had no idea Liz was a writer, and a fine one at that. I love discovering hidden aspects of my friend’s lives, like the killer voice they’re hiding until we first hear them sing karaoke, their ability to put a tent up in three minutes flat, or the way they master cooking salmon so even your picky people will eat it. One time I walked into a cafe, only to find my friend Karen’s gorgeous photographs decorating the place. Everyone has a secret superpower, sometimes it just takes a while for the rest of us to see it.
Liz sent me a copy of her book, The Sea House, and I thought I might save it for the summer. But it’s fiction, historical fiction. Her superpower, my kryptonite. Sixteen books waiting patiently under the coffee table be damned, The Sea House couldn’t wait. I found myself rushing to finish it because it is lovely and lyrical and mysterious and haunting and it kept me wide awake for a few nights. If you’re looking for a summer read, I highly recommend it. Rumor has it Liz just put the finishing touches on her second novel. Regardless of all the books sitting under my table, I can’t wait.
Are you reading anything good lately? What’s your secret superpower?