06/10/2013 08:43 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Joy Time

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


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.


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.


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?