You never quite appreciate what you have till it’s gone, right? Think of all those free summer afternoons you had as a kid — all that time to just read. Turns out you don’t get that as an adult. Faced with grim realities, we at EBYR are trying to make do, trying to find ways to read with the time we do have. We’re sharing what we plan to read — and sometimes where and how — in our Summer Reading Series.

Today’s list comes from Katherine Gibson.

* * *

Here we are, friends, smack dab in the middle of summer. And even here in Michigan (the only state in the continental U.S. where you can actually look south and see Canada), the weather is pleasant. Winsome. Downright inviting.

So it isn’t surprising to me that many of my coworkers have been taking off for vacations and camping trips. But I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t get lonely here without them. When you’re the person who’s receiving wish-you-were-here postcards instead of sending them, it’s easy to get a case of the midsummer doldrums. But the good news is that there is a very simple cure for the midsummer doldrums. (I think you know where I’m going with this.)

It’s reading, of course!

Now, as Ahna’s #SummerReadTrip demonstrates, reading is perfectly suited for adventurous jet-setters as well as homebodies. Still, for everyone who (like me) will be staying right where they are this summer, here’s my reading list for what I’m calling the Ultimate Staycation.

  1. Roger Is Reading a Book
    Roger Is Reading a Book

    Roger Is Reading a Book by Koen Van Biesen. This book came out earlier this year and became an instant favorite of mine. While the conflict between quiet Roger, who just wants to read his book in peace, and Emily, his spunky neighbor who just can’t stay silent, is highly entertaining, I’m adding this book to my Staycation list because of the way it portrays hobbies. Unlike Roger, Emily doesn’t limit herself to one particular activity; she plays basketball and does ballet and even juggles (while riding a unicycle). Emily’s a great reminder that you can have plenty of adventures right in the comfort of your home. Roger’s a great reminder that the greatest of those adventures just might involve a book.


  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. Really, any of the Harry Potter books would be a great addition to your Staycation list. But personally, when I’m reading about Harry facing all those harrowing tasks in the Triwizard Tournament, I’m suddenly grateful for the fact that I can go home at night to my cozy apartment and not have to worry about battling a dragon or solving a sphinx’s riddle (though I can’t deny that the Quidditch World Cup would be cool to watch).
  3. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand. Victoria and Lawrence are about as different as best friends can be: Lawrence, a musical prodigy, is always messy and disheveled, whereas Victoria strives for (and usually achieves) perfection. But when Lawrence goes missing, Victoria investigates his disappearance and discovers some dark secrets lurking beneath her idyllic life. This book has a lot of things going for it: magical realism, a creepy orphanage, and a nice message about friendship and individuality. You’ll be turning the pages so fast, you’ll forget you’re stuck at home (until you dive under the covers, that is).
  4. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. A book about a group of kids playing literary games and solving puzzles in order to escape from an eccentric game maker’s super-cool library? Take my money. Not only is it a clever, entertaining read, but the book itself contains a puzzle for the readers (not to brag, but I totally solved it). Perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. If you’ve already read Lemoncello, no worries, Chris just came out with a new book called The Island of Dr. Libris. You’re welcome.
  5. TRW
    The Right Word

    The Right Word by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. I will probably never get tired of talking about this book. It’s every bit as awesome as the historical figure who inspired it, Peter Mark Roget (you may have heard of his Thesaurus). Every time I read The Right Word, I just want to create my own detailed and charming word lists (and hey, I’ve got the rest of the summer to do exactly that). But what’s really great about this book is that it inspires you to observe your surroundings through a different lens; you can stay right where you are and still feel like you’re somewhere new. Books are pretty cool like that, huh?