Throughout the year, I poke through the shelves of my favorite independent bookstores to stoke my reading fire. The books are stacked on my nightstand and on the floor next to the bed in teetery piles, separated by genre. They wait with the tease of new stories. Each season has a mood: fall is reserved for mysteries like Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; winter gives me a kick with thick thrillers like Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree by Greg Iles; and spring inspires me with gorgeous burst of literary prose as in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
And then summer arrives. My favorite reading season.
Summer is reserved for humorous and poignant yarns that make me laugh out loud. Ridiculous situations and colorful metaphors stick with me like the mounds of impatiens in my garden that resemble Chiclets. Beyond the screen of the open sliding door, I bask in the din of chirping crickets and croaking frogs that celebrate a passing shower, an excuse to linger over a page a little longer before turning out the light.
One more chapter. One more paragraph. One more sentence. And then I look like one of my favorite writers and illustrators, Edward Gorey. That's a picture of him and his cats to the right.
I search out fun fiction with mature characters, specifically baby boomers because that’s what I, myself, write. The combination of wisdom and Peter Pan syndrome is hilarious. Crazy adult problems prompt—and deserve—an adolescent response. Good intentions crumble with disastrous results for the characters. These books are an entire food group at the base of my pyramid. Who needs meat when I can have a good ’ole baby boomer protagonist who heaps a deep dish of trouble on her plate?
Here’s a peek at this year’s summer selections.
A Slight Change of Plan by Dee Ernst
A 55-year-old widow is ready to get back in the saddle of love. Of course, it doesn't turn out the way she expects when her grown son and his wife boomerang home, and her elderly mother takes up residence in the basement. The reviews say it’s hilarious. I'm taking on this one first.
(I’m reading this for a second time!)
A humorous and poignant voyage and return. A widower finds closure when he grabs his wife’s ashes, cleans up his VW Van, and hits the road with his buddy. They go back to the site of Woodstock to scatter the ashes. Reliving the concert memories of a lifetime becomes an unexpected adventure. A great story that is both funny and weepy.
Retirement Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo
A light mystery about a boomer wife who is dreading her husband’s retirement—until he’s suspected of murder. Sounds like I can blow through this one in two nights. If I like it, this author has more in the series.
A Ghost Of a Chance by Minnette Meador
I met Minnette at a book signing and plucked this from her stack. I always support my fellow local authors. A funny paranormal romance? I've got to check this out while I sip a glass of chilled white wine with my feet propped up on a patio chair.
And last on the list, I’ll be re-reading my own latest novel The Executrix. This time I’ll enjoy it like a reader, not as the author. As I complete the sequel, Indigo Lake, the three middle-aged sisters are in my blood, pumping through my veins like a euphoric drug. These ladies are in over their heads. If all goes according to plan, the sequel will be out before the end of the year.
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Oregon with her husband of thirty-six years and bossy cat. She enjoys writing for baby boomers. Her novels are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. At least one trickster animal steals the show. For the past three years, Courtney has studied craft and storytelling the best-selling author Jennifer Lauck at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows program for writing and publishing.