When I look at my kids flopped down and immersed in a book, I smile, and remember that joyous feeling when school is out, and you have the freedom to read for hours and hours for the pure pleasure of it. What would summer be without the mind-traveling that a book allows?
Here in Italy, we have another month of school holidays, and my boys (seventeen and fifteen and half), have spent the first part of their holiday reading the early thrillers by Ken Follet, which they discovered in a second row on a bookshelf (yes, we've had to put our books in double rows to fit them all in!). I own most of his books, but I didn't recommend that my boys read the more recent historical novels and series, which I personally found disappointing and dripping with sensationalism of the "rape & pillage" kind. On the other hand, his earlier works, including The Eye of the Needle, The Key to Rebecca, The Man from St Petersburg are gripping spy thrillers, and suitable for young adults.
They're still into thrillers, but of a different kind. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco ("Mom, what does "coitus" mean?" "Sexual intercourse, from the Latin." "Mmmm ... no, I don't think so, it's talking about onions!" "Well, there's a lot to learn about medieval pharmacopoeia in that novel!"), and the hard-boiled Italian detective novel, Il Rispetto by Giuseppe Ferrandino, set in Naples.
Rebecca has started this summer to read by herself, and is now devouring children's books. However, I do find that it's a little difficult to find good books for her age (seven). An exception, and her absolute favorite book right now, is one that we've read aloud over and over, with great enjoyment from both the adult reader, and the listening child. All About the Bullerby Children (now available as The Children of Noisy Village, Happy Times in Noisy Village, and Christmas in Noisy Village) by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, who also wrote the Pippi Longstocking stories. It's a marvelous and funny book about the adventures of six children living in rural Sweden. Written in the first person from the point of view of one of the kids, a seven-year-old girl, whose perspective the author renders beautifully, The Bullerby Children is a real gem, and I highly recommend it!
I have been mind-traveling too this summer, through blogs. In this respect, I particularly enjoy Road it Up, written by Catherine from Canada, and documenting through beautiful photography and short, incisive and mindful articles the nomad life of her family of five as they travel throughout North America on a bus - Catherine's blog is a wonderful read, in all seasons!