Recently I've found a little corner of my backyard completely shielded by trees. I have strung up colored silks on a rope and now how have my own, otherworldly space. The light that filters through the trees meets ruffage on the ground and is a misty green, creating the illusion that I'm in a sort of limbo between the real world and my own. There is now a hammock in the center of this space, higher off the ground than any other hammock I've seen, and I've decorated it with flowers and leaves and, most importantly, books. There's nothing nicer than swaying in my book hammock, listening to the silks flap against the wind and the green sunlight sparkle through the trees.
When I am back there, I find it best to read books of completely alternate universes, because it is the perfect setting to lose myself. I've read lots of Harry Potter between those trees, as well as Utopian/Dystopian novels and Holocaust fiction. I just think solitude in the prettiest place I know is an excellent area to really think.
What have you found yourself reading this summer? Is it hard to read books when there is a world of summer and computers available to you? Or does the summery freedom make you read even more? I admit, I sometimes get caught up in the wonder of my laptop and neglect to think about the boundless worlds of books I could be immersing myself in. It happens to the best of us (she says humbly.)
My other topic in this particular post is summer reading assigned by school. This year (summer before eighth grade) we were assigned Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I was pretty excited, as I had never read this book and heard such wonderful things about it. But as I read, I found it getting tougher to keep my interest. I was bored by this classic and rather upset with myself. Why wasn't I enjoying it? Why did I find it humdrum, rather than fascinating? The explanation I at last arrived at was that I simply didn't have the context to appreciate this book yet. I was not reading it in school, with a teacher explaining to me how something is funny or decoding a reference or joke. Instead, I was ploughing through it on my own, trying only to finish. I don't think that is the way one is supposed to read Jane Austen. This is an instance in which I think the structure of school would have helped. There would be daily discussions and I would probably see the meaning behind the dialogue and action. Being assigned a certain number of pages would also have made it more manageable, I think. I am a fairly advanced reader, and that helped me understand what the words meant, but I couldn't make myself understand what was so wonderful and special about this book.
What is your view on school summer reading? Should schools leave us to our own devices during the break or is assigning books a good thing? Do you think some books are better read with the structure of a class?
Happy summer and happy reading!