Finding My Summer Book

Every summer one book emerges as “the book” of the summer. Last year it was The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit and the year before it was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. These books cut through the ordinary and take me to a world where I sit, grow, laugh, cry and emerge wishing they would last longer.

It’s not that these are the only books I read during the summer, rather they mix in with several, but while others may fly past my eyes and through my head with a laugh, blink and smile, these captivate my mind and capture my heart.

And this summer, without reading a page, I think I may have already found “the book”.  Called Novel Destinations, this book looks like a reader and traveler’s delight. It promises to take me through the homes, places and spaces of authors like Mark Twain and Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway and the Bronte sisters. It sounds like the perfect marriage for those who love both travel and literature.

The web site gives this invitation: Embark on the literary grand tour of a lifetime with Novel Destinations as your guide to the famed haunts, homes, and watering holes where beloved authors, from Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters to John Steinbeck and Mark Twain, sought solace and found inspiration. Sure to spark the imaginations of armchair bibliophiles and seasoned travelers alike are the hundreds of literary-themed activities featured in the pages of Novel Destinations,

I’ve ordered mine so stay tuned for a review. I look forward to immersing myself in Novel Destinations and dreaming of my next trip while basking in a space where it is always ten minutes before two in the afternoon.

So….during a season where we can traditionally kick off our shoes and sit awhile, what’s on your reading list? Do you have “a summer book” or do you fly through books, one after the other without needing to settle on a favorite? Would love to hear through the comments!

For more information on this book, take a look at the blog

A note about So.Many.Stories – if you have submitted an article to So.Many.Stories – please forgive my delay. I’ve received some great submissions and will be in touch with people as to when they will post. Thank you for your patience!

19 thoughts on “Finding My Summer Book

  1. Hi, Marilyn.

    Thank you so much for your lovely post and your kind words about Novel Destinations. I hope you enjoy journeying through the book. The Longfellow House is located in Cambridge, Mass., and is well worth a visit if you haven’t been there already. It’s run by the National Park Service, and they do a great job with the tours. Seeing Longfellow’s study alone is a treat.

    And you have such an intriguing background. I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog and following along on your adventures!

    Happy trails,


    1. Delighted to have you come by Shannon! We’ve not been to the Longfellow house so thank you for the tip. This area is a great one for literary and travel treasures. I’ve also enjoyed taking a look at your and Brian’s adventures in Everywhere Once – so fun to meet people who live counter culture! The post on things you could do for the price of a wedding in the U.S was great!


  2. I recently finished the fourth and final book in James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series. Certainly not new books, but virtually unknown to many people today. Originally published in the 1970s, they are a hilarious account of a young country vet in Yorkshire, England starting during WWII and the following decade or two. Classic literature that left me laughing out loud. Extremely well written by a humble man who impacted the veterinarian profession like no other (according to my vet uncle). I read dog-eared copies passed down through my family.


    1. I love those books so much! They grace our bookshelves with their tattered paper back covers. As you say, he writes so well – with humor and what an ability to tell a story! He almost makes you want to go out into the country in boots and birth a cow. Almost. Thanks so much for the reminder of those amazing books.


      1. I have those books and have only managed to read the first three. I believe you both have inspired me to start over and indulge in James Herriot’s whimsical sense of humor!


  3. I may already have read the novel that most captures my mind and heart this summer . . . it is IF YOU LIVED HERE by Dana Sachs. Published first in 2007, it’s not new but was to me. It is the fictional story of two women, an American who travels to Vietnam to adopt a child, accompanied by her new friend, a Vietnamese immigrant who agreed to interpret language and culture despite dreading a return to her birth country for the very first time in decades. Both women carry deep wells of hurt, sorrow and guilt on their journey and each becomes determined to help the other find redemption. Dana Sachs lived in Vietnam, and her love for the country and culture are reflected in her exquisite, memorable writing. I’ve thought about this book nearly every day since I finished it . . .


  4. My favorite Mark Twain is the Innocence Abroad, which tells the story of his travels in Europe in his funny sarcastic way, for example saying that at the Sistine Chapel where everyone was admiring the ceiling frescos, he said, “boy this place needs a paint job.” My other favorite Mark Twain is Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven, which chronicles a race with a comet to heaven, arriving at the wrong gate and how our expectations put us at the center of the universe and maybe we really aren’t. I hope the book about Mark Twain’s home is as poignant and funny.


  5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society: I read it, then watched two BBC series about the Island occupations during WW II, then read it again, crying and laughing both times.

    This summer I plan to read Shakespeare’s plays–just a little every day– and hope my enthusiasm and realistic pacing makes it possible for me to eventually get through them all.

    Beyond that, all my reading plans have been highjacked by discovering Joan Chitister. I started Heart of Flesh and couldn’t put it down.


      1. Marilyn, Joan Chitister is one of those “radical feminist” nuns who thinks Christianity would benefit more from a feminist inclusive model than from the patriarchal hierarchy that now exists. The clarity of her writing is stunning.


  6. Im the kind of person that doesn’t leave enough spare time in the summer to get a whole lot of reading done! Not a good thing! But when I do read, I love consuming as many as I can. Occasionally I’ll settle on one book as a favorite, but very, very rarely. It has to be really, really good for that. As usual, love your post, Marilyn!


    1. Oh – make time this summer! I do know what you mean about being selective about favorites. May you find a good read this summer and write me about it.


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