It always takes some time to settle into the summer holidays. During the first week, I can’t quite let go of the hectic pace of our regular lives. I veer between furious cleaning – tackling long-ignored closets and dusty corners – and spending days in my pajamas, trying to ignore the feeling that something’s chasing me, a forgotten item on the to do list that makes my heart race when I try to read or take a nap. My husband’s constant presence in the house — his enormous shoes in the middle of the carpet, the extra plate at lunchtime, even the sound of him joking with a friend on-line in his study — is unsettling, it throws my balance in a way I can’t quite account for. But in the second week, the long aimless days begin to fall into their own rhythm. A gentle schedule emerges — writing in the morning, a trip to the store, we cook and do the dishes together. I’m catching up on that list of Korean and Thai movies my brother said I had to see, reading past my bedtime and allowing my body to forget its 6 am wake-up call. After dinner, we take long family walks where we pick blackberries, gazing over the fields of freshly cut hay while we nod at the running commentary that gurgles and bubbles beneath us.
In this relaxed space, Mr. Heidi and I have decided to attempt an experiment – The Husband and Wife Summer Book Club. I’ve written in the past about how different our literary taste tends to be. We are reliable (and not always complimentary) opposites. But we’ve decided, as a nod to cheap and nerdy romance, to make weekly trips to the library and read some books together. We plan to write about the results of our noble experiment on Doves and Serpents – a he said/she said series of reviews. We’ve settled on a list of biographies and one novel – a seemingly neutral meeting ground between the fractal geometry and wildflower books he is also reading and the Haruki Murakami novels and Alice Munro collections I’ve been devouring (I’m so grateful that she’s had a long and prolific career). If anyone wants to join us, our list is below:
No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie, Neither of us had read this, seems about time.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy, This novel was not on our original list, but it’s been on my to-do list for ages and Jared surprised me (and
himself) by picking it up the other day and reading it in almost one sitting.
Life by Keith Richards and James Fox, Trashy fun should be included in any summer reading plan.
Just Kids by Patti Smith, He’s not excited about this one, but I love Smith and my hopes are high.
Cleopatra by Stacey Schiff, We’re both excited about this one. He loves history, this one was on my radar after making all the best of lists
at the end of last year.
We’ll see how it goes, I trust our experiment will lead to some expected differences of opinion, but it might also let us find some surprise
connections. Either way, we’re hoping it will be fun to try something different.
If you aren’t on holiday, how are you filling your long, lazy days?