Summer Reading 2021: Freedom to Read, and My First Summer Read

This summer, celebrate your freedom — to read!

Not to dwell, but it's been tough lately: there has been a lot we couldn't safely do, and places we couldn't safely go. However, the summer holds promise: of health, of travel, of long days doing what makes us happiest, with the people who mean the most to us.

Personally, I have missed My Library People. I have felt a distinct, gnawing loss from limited library access. Many of My Library workers and volunteers are good friends — and I haven't seen them in a year and a half. I miss them.  

Thankfully, My Library is returning to regular hours and services soon, and I can breathe a (hesitant) sigh of relief. Let's do all we can to help vaccination rates soar while infection rates plummet. If you haven't yet receive your COVID-19 vaccination, please check with your local or state health department for information on your options. If you need help, please contact me and I'll help you navigate your way to JMoPfize Land. Seriously.

I also can help you find your next good read.

However, don't stress about it. Any book that sounds good is your next good read.

What To Read Next: WHAT YOU WANT

My Reading Buddy Carole recently suggested a startling option: read whatever you want. Skip the book club book, the Christmas gift, the impulse purchase(s) stacked on your nightstand. Whatever book makes your heart sing, read that.

I am in two — no, three book clubs, and at least three Reading Partnerships. Much of my reading is prescribed by someone else. I don't mind because I easily entrench myself in a Reading Rut, so these partnerships help me diversify.

However, this diversification has kept me from my Personal TBR. 

So here is my summer reading goal: read only what I want. I won't be should'ed into a book all summer. 

I already have my first summer read chosen: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. This novel has been compared to Life After Life and The Time Traveler's Wife, both of which I enjoyed (and one I continue to press into other readers' hands).

How to Find Your Next Read

Choosing should be pretty easy: just pick up a book. Chances are, there's at least one book laying around your house you haven't yet read. Crack the spine and start reading. No muss, no fuss. 

No books cluttering, er, laying around your home? You can shop at a bookstore, or "shop" at your library or Little Free Library.

Library — Most libraries have their catalogs online, and you can see what they have in which format. Your e-reader also can connect directly to Your Library, or whip out your computing device. 

(Pro tip: if the catalog states a book appears available at your branch, call Your Library's circulation desk and request a shelf check. Your Librarian will pull the material from the shelf and reserve it for you right then and there.)

  • Digital: Most libraries offer access to e-book and audiobook (and more!) via Overdrive, Libby, and RBDigital. Check the app store on your e-reader, smartphone, or tablet — then download the app and sign in with your library card. Got questions? Call your library.
  • In-Person: Wandering the stacks or perusing the displays are two great ways to find a book. Even better: ask a librarian. My Librarian Anuja introduced me to A Quiver Full of Arrows, a quirky short-story collection I continue to think about, a year later.
  • Hybrid: Check the library catalog online, then reserve a book or ask for a "shelf check" for a book at your branch (see the "pro tip," above). You may also be able to request curbside pickup of your book. You don't have to "people" yet.

Bookstore — Spend time in your local bookshop. Booksellers are dying to recommend a book. 

If you meet the eye of a fellow book-shopper, you may get a recommendation as well; personally, I can't resist commenting if a fellow shopper had a good book in their hand. Or go online and order the book to be delivered to the bookstore. 

(Pro tip: Currently, Barnes & Noble will sell you a book at the online price, even if it's in stock at your bookstore, if you order it online and pick it up in the store.)

Previously loved books from used bookstores, thrift stores, or other resources are also an option. Chances are, you'll find a great read for only a buck or three.

Friends — You are not alone. Every reader wonders what they will read. You have bookish friends you don't even know who are ready to help you choose, including me. They may even have a copy of that book you can borrow. (Or a spare copy of their favorite book.) (Full confession: I always keep one extra copy of Good Omens on my shelf for that very reason.)

So, what are you waiting for? Summer reading has begun! Go grab a book and go for it! 

(Drop me a note to tell me what you're reading, or leave a note in the comments section. I'd love to know what you're reading!)