Remember summer? Flooding and forest fires and trigger-happy nut jobs and unfortunately-coiffed world leaders? Sometimes the only way to deal with chaos and confusion is to immerse yourself in comfort books.
This summer somehow disappeared in the hubbub and hullaballoo of dealing with bats (not you, mum!), putting out fires (literally!), and packing first borns off to centres of higher learning (sob, sob!). In these eventful and uncertain times, the only reading that will soothe the soul and calm the nerves is a good foray into the realms of romance, mystery, and thriller.
Romance gets poo-poohed too often: scorned and shafted and wrapped in brown paper by the literary high-minded types who don’t want their friends to know they secretly read it. But when half the world is burning and the other half is drowning and we live with the constant threat of nuclear annihilation at the hands of whack-jobs half-way across the world, some light boy-meets-girl-and-you-can-be-sure-they-end-up-together-in-the-end reading is exactly what you need. Not a fan? Skip to the end – there’s some lit-tritt-toor waiting for you there. However, if this sounds like the perfect balm to your wounded summer psyche, then you can do no better than to dip into Kristan Higgins’ Port Heron series. Small town romance, wine country setting, handsome heroes, humour and heartache… start with The Best Man and take it from there.
When the real world gets to be too much to bear, one of the best places to hide is inside the covers of an old school detective mystery: guaranteed to give you that cozy rainy-day-at-the-cottage vibe regardless of where you are. Agatha Christie’s Mystery of the Blue Train was particularly satisfying primarily because it contained the following lines:
“It is I, Hercule Poirot!”
“Not… not… the Hercule Poirot??”
Top that literary snobs!
The real stars of my genre reading this summer, however, were the thrillers! And I don’t mean anything with a girl on a train or a boat or in the water or with a goat. No, I mean world on the brink of disaster thrillers. (Because nothing takes your mind off the world’s impending doom like reading about the world’s impending doom in a fictional setting.)
The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone. It’s the spider-pocalypse! Man-eating spiders from deepest, darkest Peru! And they’re coming for you! Warning: this book ends on a cliff-hanger, which is extremely aggravating if you finish it on a plane 30,000 feet above the nearest bookstore. Luckily, the sequel, Skitter, is readily available. Warning: this too ends on a cliff-hanger, and the third doesn’t come out until next March… aargh! I could be devoured by arachnids by the time March rolls around.
It wasn’t all boy meets Hercule meets spiders this summer. I also read The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens, which is an excellent book to read with the world in its present state because it helps put your life in perspective: at least you’re not lost on a mountaintop with no food or drink.
Although I didn’t feel that this book was as good as The Girls, The Mountain Story is still a compelling read, judging from the fact that I was parched the entire time I was reading it. Granted I was already dehydrated from the sobbing after dropping the first born off at uni, but you should probably keeps some snacks and bevvies handy while you’re reading this one.
Thankfully, September is here and we can all get back into our regular routines and tackle the To Be Read pile that we ignored all summer. I’ve got Andre Alexis’ The Hidden Keys on deck.
Stay dry and safe people. Stay inside with a good book.