Huffpost Books
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jessica Keener Headshot

Joy Time

Posted: Updated:

What's your first thought when you hear the phrase "summer reading" or "beach book?"

2013-06-07-20130607_122348.jpg

Growing up, I went to overnight camp, all summer long for eight years, and that meant stocking up on new socks and underwear and, most especially, new books -- a big stack of paperbacks -- enough to last eight weeks. During rest hour each day, we wrote letters and read. I read George Orwell's Animal Farm, thinking how strange it was, disbelieving such a place could exist, but fully convinced. The kids in my cabin were civilized. We talked things out. We attended counsel ring each morning and chose our activities -- tennis, swimming, crafts.

2013-06-07-20130607_122621.jpg

In the afternoon, every day after lunch, we settled in our cabins in the woods for quiet time. On the top bunk, I read with the sweet scent of Cape Cod pines seeping through window screens. Comic books came along, too: Archie and Jughead mishaps, coveted double issues of Superman. At night, I read surreptitiously by flashlight under army blankets. I read Gone With The Wind until the batteries faltered and the bulb grew dim and flickered.

2013-06-07-20130607_131356.jpg

Summer reading for me meant slower time, more time to ponder things under starry skies, more time to forget time, to celebrate the joy of reading. How about you?