Fun summer books & hammocks.

Is there a better combination? (Ok, maybe if you throw an ice cold lemonade in there as well.)

We thought it would be fun for everyone to list their favorite summer reading book of all time, and where you were when you read it. It can be from a vacation you took as a child. Or the vacation you’re taking right this very moment. It can trashy, sophisticated, funny, classic…whatever.

Brent’s favorite summer read was a book called The Saturdays, by Elizabeth Enright. He found it while visiting his grandparents, on a bookshelf in his mother’s childhood bedroom. He re-read it every summer of his youth, sitting under the same chestnut tree in his grandparents’ yard.

the saturdays


Josh loved a crazy book called House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski that he took with him on a long summer trip to visit his uncle in France. It’s a pyschological/supernatural cult horror novel that completely overshadowed the trip. But was so good that it was worth it.

house of leaves

A friend at Serenity Health and Home Decor has generously donated this cool Handmade Mayan Double Hammock for a giveaway. So simply share your all-time favorite summer read in the comment section below, as well as a sentence or two about where you were when you read it. Enter by next Monday, July 8, 11:59pm, and we’ll choose a random winner on Tuesday, July 9th. (Apologies, but due to shipping constraints, winning entrants must live in the contiguous U.S.)





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  • By: Teresa Little

    Diary of a whimpy kid, I read each night to my 5yr old son and he looks forward to every night.

  • By: Hillary Rogers

    I had previously entered “Rage Against The Meshugenah (why it takes balls to go nuts)” bought in the ‘rummage’ room of my local Arnold Bread Store Outlet), but then my like new / used copy of “The Shortest Way Home” by Juliette Fay arrived and I am reading that now and loving it! (will go back to RATM at a later date… 😉

  • By: Jessie W. Dalton

    Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

  • By: The Sage Book Whisperer

    FOLLOWUP!!! Done & Done with “The Bucolic Plague”_ exactly 1 1/2 day of reading! There were many lol moments _BUT_ this was a very serious thought-provoking read as well..(i.e.Martha Perfection v Oprah Live Your Best Life)…eye opening concept, a dig deep down into the earth for the real you kinda thing! Love the goats…as we have 16 on our farm +12 cats & one that lives inside(Hank “The CowCat” here on Aaron’s Hilltop Farm in Johnson County Texas_and we have a very large “Red Barn” w/loft where the goats live! I started following y’all on The Amazing Race_been a follower since.Josh I admire your writings about the Beekman Boys “Fa-Real” Life…from a REAL perspective! Since ,I read so many books_I’m gonna have to say_this is the best book for My Summer Reading 2013!

  • By: The Sage Book Whisperer

    That’s a hard one_since I am & always have been(just didn’t know I’d give myself a name) as in_”The Sage Book Whisperer”_a Book Lover….since Birth, I’m thinking I ask my mom for a bottle & a good book. I received your book from Amazon on yesterday_”The Bucolic Plague”.Started reading around 1 until 2 am_ got up at 6am started reading again while ROTFLMAO,on page 175 of 304.Soooo,I’m gone have to say this is my favorite Summer 2013 book_(I’m a Martha Fan)pg.58 had me in tears w/laughter! Here’s my other Reading List for the Summer 2013_

  • By: Marcia Suminski

    Though I saw this too late I still wanted to participate so here is(are) my favorite Summer reads anything by Gladys Taber concerning her farm Stillmeadow.

  • By: Eldon Terry

    We thought it would be fun for everyone to list their favorite summer reading book of all time, and where you were when you read it. It can be from a vacation you took as a child. Or the vacation you’re taking right this very moment. It can trashy, sophisticated, funny, classic…whatever.

    • By: Hillary Rogers

      I read “The Boxcar Children” back in the early 70s, during one summer break as a kid, and I still love, love, love that book to this date! Using the stream as an icebox and all those other wonderful, resourceful ways they came up with to survive, was magic to me — and still is 🙂

  • By: Marie Chilcote

    It is Tuesday, July 9th. When are you picking the winner? Are you going to notify us in this column who won the prize???

  • By: JoAnna Evans

    It was 1969, I was eleven. I was “stuck” at my uncle’s farm in Agency, Missouri for the weekend and bored, bored bored. My cousin (who taught literature at UMC) pushed The Hobbit into my hands and told me there would be a quiz before I went home. I devoured that book. I read it on a cot out under Uncle Paul’s huge elm tree. It ignited a life-long passion for fantasy and science fiction. Wonderful weekend. . . wonderful book. Lovely memory!

    • By: Marilyn Hadd

      I just placed a copy of the Hobbit in the hands of an 11 year old who was recently visiting me too! He had a long car trip to Portland and then back to Phoenix–lots of down time. I think I mentioned a “quiz” as well.

  • By: angi Eharis

    i live in hawaii so i guess i can’t win but i loooved all nancy drew books when i was growing up and as an adult i just loved everything by pearl s. buck! aloha, angi in hana

  • By: Jonathan Sherry

    As an adolescent seeking to escape from all kinds of young angst & anxiety-I read & re-read, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Much like your adventure on The Amazing Race~the novel showed the world what a little improvision, adaptation, and unwavering ability to overcome extraordinary odds-could mean to a rather underdog protagonist! Ahhhh-the good reads of yesteryear’s fabulous escapes:)

    • By: Hillary

      You would probably like “The Boxcar Children” (the first book) Jonathan. It’s my all-time favorite from my childhood, because of the reasons you mentioned above 🙂

  • By: Melissa

    In what turned out to be a loonnngg car ride with 2 daughters and a granddaughter, to pick up the grandson, I turned to my Kindle app to download a book. What I found was a wonderful writer who penned a love story of a young woman who knew very little of her past, only to find it through an unexpected email from a man that knew her in her innocent childhood. Spell bound and hanging onto the edge of my seat, what unveiled was a story of a small child who found the mother she had lost, the truth about why her father was the way he was, and the love of her life. A must read for anyone,,,, Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler

    Needless to say, that 16 hour car ride, was enjoyable with this book…

  • By: Debbie Cleveland

    I love reading anything, but most of all I enjoy reading posts from my some of my favorite people (Josh and Brent included). This will be my 20th year teaching and I gather projects throughout the year for my students. My class will make the Christmas ornaments made from Jolly Ranchers that was featured on the Beekman 1802 Christmas Tree.
    A series that I have read this summer is The Brave Journey, The Rightful Heir, and The Ending Feud by Jefferson Knapp. No matter what your age, if you love an adventure and animals, this is a fun series.

  • By: Gail Cosgriff

    I read all of the Anne of Green Gable series of books to my daughter during summer vacations. I can still feel her leaning against me as she looked at the pictures and then, later, followed along as I read. Her older brothers would wander into the room and pretend to be looking for something so they could listen in. I still love those books.

  • By: Torrie Vail

    “The Fellowship of the Ring” during the summer I turned 9 years old. My father was a seasonal summer ranger at Yosemite National Park so we’d pack up the station wagon and live in a tent cabin for three months. There wasn’t much room in the station wagon for toys or books (1 station wagon, 5 people, 3 months…) so I would read anything and everything I could borrow from the other ranger families on “Ranger Hill” in Wawona. Early in summer, I was given the first book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I read the book at least four times that summer. After years of age-appropriate books that were usually predictable and boring, here was an epic saga with both reluctant and and brave heroes. With villains that could be majestic or horrifying. And a world where the overlooked and underestimated could rise to greatness. Now, at 54, it is still one of my favorite books/series.

  • By: Mark

    Favourite summer book was Tales of the City, remember my friend gave the book to me as a Christmas gift, going to the beach and reading the day away, so engrossing was Tales that I didn’t even take time to notice the surf life savers!!

  • By: heather

    My favorite summer read has been 50 shades of grey by el james and i have read it at the lake and at the park. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway and have a great summer.

  • By: Nanci Bliss-Kelley

    Gone With the Wind! I first read it at age 16 and have read it every few years after. As I have aged, the book has remained fascinating. I drew new insights as I matured. I was utterly and terribly disappointed to find that it was Margaret Mitchell’s only book! PS: Clark Gable as Rhett? Oh yumma yumma!!

    • By: Nanci Bliss-Kelley

      Oh AND I read it while on a trip to Minnesota to visit a friend that I had met while we were camping in Florida. We both were there to watch Neil Armstrong’s launch to the moon. Also that summer Prince Charles became the Prince of Wales. Yup, that was a loooooOOOooong time ago!

      • By: Scarlett

        Gone with the Wind was my favorite read at 14, as well. I remember spending HOURS reading. I loved it, and it inspired a 14 yo girl to watch a 50 yo movie. Loved them both, but the book was better…isn’t it always?

  • By: Eileen Fried

    I read, read, read. When I a little girl I always read my Bumper Book of poems and short stories and all tge Namcy Drew I could get my hands on. I am now 67 and just bought another Bumper Book for my old age as the original was lost in a hurricane.

  • By: Beth

    I am the mother of four and a big reader. Therefore, I always have a book tucked in my bag for quick moments when I can fit in a few pages. I’ve had so many favorite summer reads, however would like to mention the book that I just finished reading, Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard. It is the true story of a young farmer determined to turn around his failing family farm (and finally succeeding) by shunning industrial farming practices and returning to sustainable agriculture. It is exciting and heartbreaking and inspirational. I think Beekman fans would love it!

  • By: Adam

    There are so many to choose from…I teach reading and probably one of my favorite is the classic “My Side of the Mountain” It is a wonderful read for our summer reading program.

  • By: Tom Schanie

    My favorite read was a Hardy Boys book, I think the title was Mystery at Devil’s Paw that I read at home during the summer when I was a boy.

  • By: Shannon

    I just read The HouSe At The End of Hope Street while rocking my miracle baby. Best way to spend a summer!

  • By: Jen Erickson

    My favorite summer read as an adolescent would probably have to be “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” or “Forever” by Judy Blume…I thought they were both sort of risque at the time, having never had a boyfriend or kissed a boy before myself. I would usually read out on a towel in the backyard or on the beach if we were on vacation. Now I think I might read Judy’s adult novels this summer.

  • By: Dave Mitch

    The Help. It’s an absolutely great book and it’s best enjoyed on a hot summer day on a porch in the south with a very tall glass of iced tea.

  • By: Doreen Johnson

    my latest summer read wa The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It is as inspirationable as he inteneded it to me. Some days one needs anothers inspiration.

  • By: Annie M

    I just read a great book. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I knew the ending but I was curious. The book sucked me into the story. I laughed…I cried…and like the Mom that I am…I worried.

    The book I read is called ‘I am not myself these days’, A Memoir, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

    I read it sitting in my Dad’s recliner over the fourth of July weekend because I was taking care of my Mom who has Parkinson’s Disease with Dementia. Usually I do my summer reading under the big tree in my own yard but it was my weekend to take care of Mom so I was inside with the monitor on.

    Great book to keep my mind active while being inside the house on a wonderful summer day. Next weekend I’m at my house, reading under the big tree in my yard!

    Josh, thanks for the great read.

    Any thoughts on what I should read next weekend?

  • By: Peggy

    My favorite childhood books were the “Magic” books by Edward Eager, starting with Half Magic. Now I’m rediscovering them as I read them to my grandson.

  • By: Christine Walker

    Love love love to read. Always have, always will. I read an amazing book last year, The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. It is beautiful, bizarre, quirky and amazing. I can’t even explain it because it was unlike anything I had ever read before or since. I never wanted it to end–ever. Darn, now I think I am going to have to read it again! My late Grammy, always loved her “dirty” books–romance novels. She always had a book going. She fostered a love of reading in all of us. As a kid, I loved Judy Blume. Who didn’t??

  • By: Agnes Kerley

    I loved the book (and movie) Island of the blue dolphins and gained a lot of inspiration from the heroine of the book. It was the real life story of a native American woman girl who was left behind (unintentionally) on an island off California in the 1800’s. She survived through sheer will and through all she had learned from her tribe before they left.

  • By: Suzanne Kouns

    Funny how you mention “Hammock”… as I was just discussing this with family members last weekend at our RV. Which is located in a permanent RV Park, in Chimney Rock , NC. We occacionally steal away their when we get the chance. And, we ALL thought a Hammock would have been the perfect addition to our weekend . ANYWAY, I love to read, and “Vintage Highlights magazine” from the early 70’s would have been my fave as a child. It makes me happy to view old copies on Ebay or, Etsy. The older the better, so cool! That would be one of my childhood memories for reading. And, my latest read and fascination is, “As Always, Julia “, The letters of Julia Child & Avis Devoto. I Love those ladies. Wish THE Julia Childs was still around….
    Thanks for this opportunity. Sincerely, Suzanne

  • By: Donna

    I loved reading Nora Roberts – The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy and when I was younger I read the Nancy Drew the hammock-very colorful!

  • By: Jane

    Charlotte’s Web. One summer while in college, I took a children’s literature class. I read more than the assigned pages each evening since I was so affected by the story. After our study of the book was complete, I thanked my professor for introducing me to this great piece of literature.

  • By: Rishana Bloom

    I’m embarrassed to write this and I can’t say that it was my favorite summer read, but for multiple summers I have tried to read Catch 22. The first time I “read” Catch 22, was during one of my summer breaks during college. I started the book with only a week, or so, left in the summer, and I was unable to complete it. Similar events have followed at least two other summers and I have yet to read the book cover to cover (I begin from page 1 each time). Although, it can’t be my favorite summer read, it is certainly the book I think of when I think of summer reading.

  • By: Erin C.

    The summer I turned 10, I cut my head open doing a back flip off of a diving board. I had stitches and couldn’t go swimming, so I built a fancy chair (with boards and carpet!) up in the branches of my favorite tree and I sat up there reading books – mostly Nancy Drew! Nowadays, if anyone asks me for a good summer read, I ALWAYS recommend THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer. The whole book is written as a series of letters. It is a completely delightful book and a quick read. I even attempted to make a potato peel pie according to what little instructions are mentioned in the book!

  • By: Joan

    My favorite book memory as a child is The Boxcar Children (and as I read through some of the comments I see someone else enjoyed them also) From there I have gone on to so many authors bu right now I am reading the Nora Roberts Series Chesapeake Bay Saga of the Quinn Brothers. It would be wonderful to be reading it in the beautiful hammock.

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