As much as I loved hiking and fishing as a kid, I used to regret the arrival of summer in one way, not because of the long hours I spent irrigating, weeding, and doing various farm chores, but because in the summer I lost access to the school library. You probably thought I was going to say because of those dreaded summer reading lists. The truth is I never had a school teacher who gave me a summer reading list. Perhaps that was because I lived in a number of remote rural areas that lacked libraries, but I always read whatever I could get my hands on and I'll always be grateful to the Idaho State Library for mailing books to me every summer as long as I lived in that state and to the school teacher who introduced me to their great program for providing books by mail. I'm grateful too to the neighbor in Montana who signed for me to get a library card in a county where a year residency was required or the signature of a long time resident.
Today it is much easier to get a library card or buy books. For most of us in America acquiring a library card is easy and there are numerous book stores, both brick and mortar as well as electronic, within easy reach. Both Deseret Book and Seagull Book have mail order options for customers. Outside of the Mountain West finding LDS books is a little harder though with the arrival of Kindle and Nook even those outside of the USA can easily and economically buy LDS books. There's another option too, which many readers underestimate. Many authors offer their own and sometimes each other's books as contest prizes or in exchange for reviews. Many of these contests are linked.
I've always loved curling up in a shady spot with a good book in the summer. Reviewing new LDS fiction for Meridian Magazine gives me the perfect excuse to do that, but by August the introduction of new fiction seems to slow down until the LDS Booksellers Convention introduces various publishers' new fall lines and as readers shift their focus from books to back-to-school clothing and supplies. This year attention is on the Olympics and squeezing in the last summer hikes, camping trips and boating before summer's end. There might even be more impetus to squeeze in outdoor activities than usual since our weather this year has left us unsure which season to expect when we wake up each morning. However, I suspect there are still a lot of people planning to read this month since many are still leaving on vacations and need a book to read in-flight, on the beach, or just because it's too hot to do anything else.
LDS Publisher there's a reading contest going on with two books being awarded to winners each day during the month of August. Those entering are asked to start with a list of books he or she plans to read this month. That's a little hard for me to do since most of the books I read are sent to me by publishers or authors to consider for reviews on Meridian and I don't know what they're going to send me. I just finished reading The Most Important Catch by Jaclyn M. Hawkes and have one more to-be-read book, Twitterpated by Melanie Jacobson on my Kindle. Traci Abramson and Gregg Luke have new books I'm anxious to get my hands on and a couple of independent authors have notified me they're sending me books, but most of the time I don't know what I'll be reading. That's one of the nice things about this contest, books can be added or deleted as the month goes along. Extra points are awarded for reading any of the sponsors' books or books by any LDS author. I'm a sponsor, but I'm also entering the contest as a reader. Actually I find the instructions for reporting books read a bit confusing, but hopefully I'll figure it out. Here's my list, but expect it to grow:
The Most Important Catch by Jaclyn M. Hawkes
Twitterpated by Melanie Jacobson
Code Word by Traci Hunter Abramson
Deadly Undertaking by Gregg Luke