Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

But till that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry
George Gershwin's "Summertime" epitomizes summer in the south.  You just can't listen to this sultry number  and not feel the sweltering heavy humidity or hear the drone of no-see'ums buzzing around your head.

As hard as our winter was, when we were praying for the ice and snow to give 'way to some warm weather, little did we know summer would come swooping in with record breaking temperatures.  Temperatures we're not used to in these mountains. 

Life in the south changes during the summer months.

It gets a bit slower.

Mine gets a little lazier.

Meals get a little lighter, and so does the reading.

Instead of enjoying a big pot of beef stew or chili, a bowl of fresh veggies seems just the thing.  What's spells summer better than homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet Vidalia onions?  yum.

As summer starts getting closer, we start seeing the "beach read" lists appear.  There are a lot of opinions on what this means exactly - everything from "light reading" in theory to "light reading" in the form of paperbacks rather than hardbacks.

One of my favorite forms of "beach reading" would be books with a beach setting.  Just as I'm a lover of the beach, I'm a lover of a good beach book. 

I've found a few of those this summer, and had a little "Beach in Boone" session with books I ordered.

Including  - - -

Cathy Holton's BEACH TRIP.

Karen White's ON FOLLY BEACH.

In addition to my love of mysteries and crime fiction, I'm also a big fan of women's fiction; sometimes referred to in what might be a not so complimentary way, as "chick lit."

You might remember how loudly I squealed about Beth Hoffman's SAVING CEE CEE HONEYCUTT

Not only is it a delightful, poignant women's fiction novel, it is most decidedly southern.  I'm also a huge fan of southern lit with all the eccentric characters that usually come with it.

Some of those I've discovered this summer include

Dorothea Benton Frank's LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER


However.  Offbeat, eccentric characters aren't the sole property of the south.

I found a few that found their way into my heart in 



Liza Gyllenhaal's LOCAL KNOWLEDGE


Ayelet Waldman's RED HOOK ROAD



Some of these are light reading; some aren't quite as light as the term "chick lit" would lead you to believe.

But, it is all about escapism.  Pure and simple.

A few books that are either on their way, or already on my nightstand waiting for me are

Diane Chamberlain's THE LIES WE TOLD



AND - - -

ta da . . . . . 

the latest by one of my all-time very favorite authors ever

Her latest novel, BURNT MOUNTAIN, shouts southerness as only Ms. Siddons can write it -

And I can hardly wait till it arrives.  Ms. Siddons' books are also referred to as Southern Gothic.

All these sub-categories just make my head hurt.  I'm sure they probably make sense to a lot of people, and sometimes they do to even me.  But I think I'd rather just say "Hey!  Here's a book I liked.  Maybe you will too."

Let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

You've got some good ones listed here Kaye. And some yummy looking tomatoes!

I inquired about BURNT MOUNTAIN and was told by the publisher that it had been pushed back to next spring I think. I love Anne Rivers Siddons and wanted to check it out. Hopefully, it will be published in 2011. Don't you just love the covers on those books? So cheerful and fun looking.

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful post, Kaye! You've got summer nailed down for sure.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Kay, thanks for the update on BURNT MOUNTAIN. I was wondering what was going on with that book. Dang - I hate waiting till next year, but at least it's another Anne Rivers Siddons to look forward to. I just love her books!

Vicki - I thought of you yesterday. I received a new cook book in the mail (like we all really need one more) - timely after reading your blog about your favorite cookbook. This one is A Love Affair With Southern Cooking - wonderful wonderful!!!!