Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Summer of Nonfiction

Sarah from La Casa Di Frigerio shares with us her Summer of Nonfiction...

First, I promise that this post is officially cicada free. Except for right there, where I mentioned them. Dang it, I did it again! Have I told you that one landed on my face yesterday? Ugh!

I am not going to attempt to pretend that the summer months are the only time I find to read. We all already know that I am a giant nerd who invariably has her head stuck in a book at least once during the day. However, there seems to be a few extra hours in the day for reading in the summer months; whether it is because there is less going on at work during this time, or because the boys can be pushed outdoors (and therefore no cabin fever-induced Mom harassment takes place), or perhaps it’s just a vestigial reading mindset left from my childhood summers. 

I read a lot during the rest of the year, but in the summer, I read even more. 

Add Twitter and blogs and news articles that don’t have the chance to slip past me in the summer term, and I’m a black hole to those words. I consume everything in my path. I leave nothing untouched behind me. 

My husband says it is impressive and also a little creepy. I spend my non-reading hours discussing what I’ve been reading with him and my sons. I read excerpts. I ask for commentary. I think it is my best turn of fate that my husband actually will participate in what I bet others would consider the most irritating habit ever created by verbal primates.  (This is, of course, more akin to my sons’ take on things.)

Me: J, What do you think about X?

J, somewhat disconcerted, because he chooses to spend his free time playing games or fantasy baseball: Huh? What are you talking about?

Then I proceed to read him lengthy excerpts from whatever I happen to be reading (Hope you find this interesting, honey, because now I have my claws in you for the next hour!) and ask him his opinion on whatever the topic du jour happens to be.

He gives it, like the good sport that he is.

Then I tell him that he’s wrong, I disagree with him, and obviously, if he had been reading this book, he would have said what I was thinking all along.

And yet he still plays this game with me, every time. That’s true love, my friends. 

So, this summer is no different in this regard. What is different, this summer, is the fact that I find myself drawn to GASP! some non-fiction titles. This is unusual behavior, and highly suspect. 

Don’t get me wrong, I WANT to read non-fiction, and I’ve tried many times before, but more often than not, I get about three pages in and then I………ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! I’m a culture studies girl, and several times I have tried my hand at reading something I’m absolutely certain will hold my interest. No dice.  So, I stick to fiction, even if that means I stay up until all hours of the night just to finish one more chapter.

Annie Jacobsen, I heart you!

And yet, I found myself drawn to and reading Area 51, by Annie Jacobsen. It’s not about aliens, by the way. Her description of Area 51, and its clandestine missions, is much more nefarious than aliens. Her narrative style is amazing. The story is amazing. I would highly recommend it, as would J, since it gave us the chance to discuss something he feels very comfortable discussing; wars and war planes. Then I found myself settling down to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. In less than a day of having picked the book up from the library, I was already on chapter six. I don’t even really consider myself a lover of the biological sciences! My bet is that I finish this one before the weekend.

Rebecca Skloot, I think I'm going to heart you too!

Again, this is highly suspect. I don’t know what’s going on with me. What I do know is now that I’ve started my summer reading binge, I cannot stop or I will go through some pretty gruesome withdrawals. I need suggestions, people, and they might be fiction or….nonfiction?

Tell me about those non-fiction books you have just absolutely loved!

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Yes, tell us!  Email us your own summer reading stories at, and see your post on our main page!  And happy reading!