My New Habit--Summer Reading

Hello there!

It's sunny day here in Alberta. Baby blue skies, green grass prickling through the brown, pairs of ducks inspecting pond side real estate, squirrels chewing some living thing out and oh yeah, motorbikers gunning their pipes. We might get another dump of snow in May, usually right around our long weekend, but by then spring has gathered up so much momentum, we bulldoze right through it all.

Which means that I need to stop reading. I know, WHA--???

I blame my farm upbringing. Summer was the time for gardening--and not just those hobby patches but serious industrial plantations of potatoes, corn, tomatoes plus all the other lesser beans, carrots, onions and other vegetables to feed ourselves through the year. Then there was the berry picking with all the follow up canning, freezing, pickling.

Yeah, I was bored out of my teenage skull. There wasn't a library to go to, I'd read all the books on our shelves except for a 1924 agricultural textbook and a paperback on Canadian history. When my mother wasn't looking, I slipped from the top shelf, a book called The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. I wasn't far into it when it suddenly disappeared. My sister reported that my mother, feeling that I was at an impressionable age, shouldn't fall under its influence. I never confronted my mother since nothing would come of it, and I went back to weeding. 

It was a discipline my mother imposed on herself. She read my books only on Sunday, one chapter at a time. Partly because of her weak vision. Partly to draw out the story. Going through her things this past winter, I found them in this gift bag on her dresser. I'll not give away these copies.

My mom's illicit Sunday reading




Decades later, I can't shake the feeling that reading during the summer is an illicit activity. That any activity that doesn't stretch the bones and risk heatstroke is sheer laziness. Even my career as an author doesn't allow me to justify the indulgence.

I know, this is serious.

So, I started a new habit. For years, I've read just before going to sleep. Initially, it was a way to relax before falling asleep. and then it became terribly effective. I was out like the proverbial light as soon as I got the page into focus. So now, I wake up, brew up cuppa tea and then sneak back into bed and read for a half-hour. My other taskmaster, my growling stomach, prevents me from reading too long, and then I'm good for the day.
My bedside stack




Next step: Reading in broad daylight.

Any suggestions for making that transition are welcome.

My summer days will be occupied with continuing to write The Montgomery Sisters, my upcoming Heartwarming trilogy. My first is done. All They Want for Christmas is set for release in September. And I'm at work on the second, no title determined yet.

Get an update on my website: M. K. Stelmack
You can also contact me on Facebook at M. K. Stelmack

Happy reading, everyone!


Comments

  1. When there were no chores to be done, my mom still urged me outside into the sun. I learned to enjoy reading as I settled into a cradle of branches far up in the box elder tree. I was outside, but still doing what I wanted. My daughter, a teacher, reads only in summer and over Christmas break. She's reading right now, during quarantine, and I think looking over her shoulder in case she gets caught. A great post!

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    1. A lovely image of Liz-girl cool and comfy in the big ol' tree. And yes, I can relate to your daughter's worry about getting caught out!

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  2. When I was teaching my idea of luxury was to read during the day, and not at bedtime. Now I can do that, but the problem is, at my age, afternoon reading leads to naps. Well, why not? There’s only so much writing and baking I can do. If our cottage isn’t accessible this summer, we’re going to have an urban backyard garden. I’m thinking of getting a chaise longue, reading out there and yes, napping. Nice post, Moira!

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    1. Sunday afternoons our family had extra long naps. That was when I snuck in sweet, sweet reading time. I hope you make it to the cottage, Janice!

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  3. My grandmother was a farmer's wife and I never saw her sit down unless she was mending or driving the tractor and briefly at the dinner table when everyone else was fed. When she died we found a cedar chest full of Love Inspired books, so apparently sometime late at night or before I was up, she must have read. Most of them looked like she'd read them more than once. Loved the post!

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    1. I love the story of your grandmother and her secret chest. We're all more complicated than we show the world. Thank you for telling us her story!

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  4. I'm lucky. I had no restrictions on what I could read or when. As long as my work was done, I could put my head in whatever book I wanted. In the summer, I used to read all the books on the school reading list. A friend and I would see who could read the most books. Still, I managed to miss a lot of books that others read as standards. At a NINC conference one year when we were discussing books that changed your life, many people brought up children's books. Harriet the Spy was one. I never even knew it was a book. I new there was a movie/cartoon, but never watched it. So even though I was an avid reader and had read hundred of books, there are still those I missed.

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    1. Ah, the books that got away! Every year, there are more that slip through my fingers. Isn't it interesting to think that depending on what we read, our imaginations develop differently? Thanks for sharing a piece of your life, Shirley!

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  5. I was a farm kid as well, but my parents were big readers, especially my dad. They encouraged reading, but still I had a habit of hiding behind my bed to read so my mother wouldn't see me and assign chores. My mother volunteered every Saturday to do a preschool story time at the local library, so I always had new books to read.

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    1. You hiding behind the bed reminds me of my daughter who now tells me that she never minded being sent to her room because then she could do her drawing.

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  6. Loved all those summer reading programs at the public library--my family still teases me about carrying books back and forth in a small suitcase--no rolling wheels in those days. We had lots of chores, but we had lots of books, too! Lovely post.

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    1. Love the suitcase. I can picture it bumping against your leg. Thanks for sharing, Virginia!

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  7. A complete list of all the different types of Action games. The Best action new games for playstation and or any information other action games player4life.

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