Summer fun list 2024

Striving for Summer Fun Instead of Summer Funk

June 07, 2024

Photo by john labelette on Unsplash

Many people love summer and look forward to its simple pleasures and everyday adventures. 

Not me

Florida’s summers are a special kind of hell and my goal every year is to survive the summer without 1) Heat stroke 2) A full-blown depression and 3) Hurricane damage.

I’m only half kidding.

I know you’re probably sick of my complaints about this—trust me, I’m sick of me, too. I’m trying to have a positive attitude, but we’ve already had multiple days in the upper 90s and, oh yeah, it technically isn’t even summer yet. I shudder to think what August will bring.

Since summer in Florida is Not My Favorite, in recent years I’ve been taking a cue from author Laura Vanderkam and creating a Summer Fun List. Having something to look forward to is a component of happiness that I fully believe in. So here goes…

Summer fun list 2024

Rewatch the movie Clue. I enjoyed the stage production so much, I want to rewatch the movie. 

Beach weekend getaway with my husband.

Playdates with friends—as many can I manage! Whether it’s lunch, coffee, floating in the pool, or a trip to iSmash (see below), I plan to spend some quality time with friends this summer.

Ride “Dougie” (fellow boarder’s horse I’ve been given permission to ride) while Tank enjoys his well-deserved retirement.

Go to the movies—if I can find something I want to see. With my husband, with a friend, or even by myself.

Complete at least one jigsaw puzzle.

Watch the Summer Olympics being held in Paris (ah, Paris!) on TV.

Make key lime ice cream.

Go to iSmash—I have some frustrations I’d like to work out! 

Watch Black Cake on Hulu. I loved the book. 

Read by the pool. One way to enjoy the outdoors in a Florida summer is to get yourself wet. An afternoon spent reading and then dipping into the pool when I get hot sounds appealing. I usually prefer to skip the “wet” and “outside” parts of a reading afternoon, but I’m trying to shake up my routine a bit.

Create and read from a summer reading list (see below).

I don’t feel like these are very exciting, or even very different from past summers, but maybe “excitement” isn’t what I need during the summer. I think I need to chill…in more ways than one!

Summer reading

Summer is prime reading time since I’ll be trying to stay cool. Here are some possibilities for my summer reading. Even though I’m a fast reader, there’s no way I’ll get to all of them. The ones with an * are priorities:

Library books:

The Lost Bookshop, Evie Woods (already on hold) 

The Husbands, Holly Gramazio (already on hold) 

*My Murder, Katie Williams 

*In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honore 

Laziness Does Not Exist, Devon Price 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler 

Enchantment, Katherine May 

*Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser. The Project Gutenberg e-book version is here

*Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan, Elaine M. Hayes 

TBR shelf:

*Au Revoir, Mary Moody 

*The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, Rumer Godden 

Touch Not the Cat, Mary Stewart 

Traveling While Married, Mary-Lou Weisman 

*Draft No. 4, John McPhee 

Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art, Jennifer New 

I’ll also continue my Agatha in Order project. Begun in 2020, I’m still reading Agatha in order. As of this writing, I have 21 books left. I won’t finish in 2024, but will definitely get there in 2025. 

Do you make a Summer Fun List? What are your plans for fun this summer?


Summer fun list

Summer Fun/Reading List Update

September 17, 2021

Tank on the trail

Only five days until the calendar says it’s fall! It may not feel like fall here in Florida for another month or two, but I’m already contemplating fall simple pleasures and making up a fall fun list. 

But before I do that, let’s review my summer fun list and see how I did.

I was right to make a less-than-ambitious summer fun list, and I was able to do all but one item on it (completed items in red): 

  • Have an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins (many of my happy growing-up memories revolve around B & R, as we fondly called it)
  • Read and/or write at a cafĂ© (now that I’m vaccinated) [COVID went nuts in Florida, and I chose to try not to expose myself to it]
  • Create and read from a summer reading list (post to come)
  • Get together with friends I haven’t seen in more than a year, because, well, you know…

In addition, I also:

  • Traveled to California to visit family and friends (and Lassen Volcanic National Park)
  • Went trail riding in June!
  • Hosted a couple of small family get-togethers
  • Browsed in my library’s used bookstore, which had been closed since last year
It’s been mostly a quiet summer, and I’m OK with that. I’m hoping as the weather cools off and I get my normal fall energy boost, I’ll start to explore a few more simple pleasures and everyday adventures.

Summer reading update

Summer reading went really well! I read most of the books on my summer reading list, and more:

For my long book, I’m thinking of reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. I’m not sure how to describe this one, except that it involves magic and the politics of the Napoleonic wars (?)  People seem to love it or hate it.

Started. Mixed feelings so far. Not loving it. Intrigued enough to keep making my way through for now, but I reserve the right to abandon it. I have my own copy, so I can take my time without worrying about library due dates. 

I’m very interested in Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, by Ruth Franklin for my writer’s biography. I also just received a copy of May Sarton’s Plant Dreaming Deep, which is more of a journal/memoir than a biography. It appeals to me because I loved Journal of a Solitude and The House by the Sea. Of course, I could kill two books with one stone (long book and writer biography) and tackle my still-unread Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (clocking in at more than 600 pages of dense type and footnotes)!

Read: Plant Dreaming Deep (loved it!)

A friend gifted me Tirzah Price’s Pride and Premeditation and we’ll be reading it together. This “clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice…reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.” Sounds fun!

Check.

This year, I’m throwing some poetry into the mix with Arias, by Sharon Olds.

Check again.

I’ve been very slowly rereading Agatha’s Christie’s books in order, so I’ll probably pull The Man in the Brown Suit off my home library shelf to serve as my comfort reread.

Yup. And also The Secret of Chimneys and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I especially enjoyed Chimneys, as my memory of it was hazy. 

I’m undecided on reading a classic. At the moment, I haven’t got one lined up, but that may change. 

Nope.

I’m in the hold line to read Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me, a Modern Mrs. Darcy recommendation. Many people are ahead of me, so I hope I get to this one before summer’s end.

Just finished, and it was worth the wait.

In the meantime, I’ll likely pick up another Modern Mrs. Darcy rec that I already had on my radar: Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro. 

Different, but good.

Now that summer’s nearly over I’m anticipating fall and all its simple pleasures. I’ll start working on a fall fun list, and maybe even a fall reading list—I’ve never done that before! There are already things to look forward to during my favorite season. But until then, I’ll try to savor the last few days of summer…from my air-conditioned home, of course J.

What were the highlights of your summer?

Books

Bookish Plans for Summer 2021

June 04, 2021

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash


My favorite thing about summer is more reading time. It’s too hot and humid to do much outside, so why not put my feet up, have a cold drink, and read a book? I have a lot more fun compiling a summer reading list than I do a summer fun list—all those luscious books waiting to be read! My problem is I always choose too many books to get through. But that’s OK, there’s always fall, and winter, and spring, and NEXT summer!


While my usual and very scientific method of choosing my next read is “it sounds good and I feel like reading it,” for my summer reading lists I sometimes add a couple of specific types of books: a writer’s biography, a classic, a comfort reread, a long book, and so on. I’ve also started mixing in a couple of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide recommendations when I can get my hands on them (click here to get your own free guide). Since I tend to read mostly older books, the Reading Guide helps me stay in better touch with contemporary authors.


My summer reading list is not intended to be hard and fast—it’s just supposed to help me expand my choices a little from what I typically read. A gentle nudge rather than a push, so to speak. Here is a tentative list of books I’m thinking of dipping into this summer (all book titles are links if you’d like to learn more):

 

For my long book, I’m thinking of reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. I’m not sure how to describe this one, except that it involves magic and the politics of the Napoleonic wars (?)  People seem to love it or hate it.


I’m very interested in Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, by Ruth Franklin for my writer’s biography. I also just received a copy of May Sarton’s Plant Dreaming Deep, which is more of a journal/memoir than a biography. It appeals to me because I loved Journal of a Solitude and The House by the Sea. Of course, I could kill two books with one stone (long book and writer biography) and tackle my still-unread Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (clocking in at more than 600 pages of dense type and footnotes)!


A friend gifted me Tirzah Price’s Pride and Premeditation and we’ll be reading it together. This “clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice…reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.” Sounds fun!


This year, I’m throwing some poetry into the mix with Arias, by Sharon Olds.


I’ve been very slowly rereading Agatha’s Christie’s books in order, so I’ll probably pull The Man in the Brown Suit off my home library shelf to serve as my comfort reread.


I’m undecided on reading a classic. At the moment, I haven’t got one lined up, but that may change. 


I’m in the hold line to read Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me, a Modern Mrs. Darcy recommendation. Many people are ahead of me, so I hope I get to this one before summer’s end. 


In the meantime, I’ll likely pick up another Modern Mrs. Darcy rec that I already had on my radar: Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro. 


Between my own shelves and my excellent local library, I’m spoiled for choice. No matter how hot it gets this summer, my reading chair and a stack of good books will be waiting.


Have you read any of my summer book choices? What are you particularly looking forward to reading this summer?