Is it hot enough for you? I don’t know about you, but I do not enjoy the blast furnace that is summer here in Nashville. If you are like me and you like to hide in the AC until Christmas, check out these cool reads to help keep you from overheating.
I while ago I fell in love with the book Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. Then I followed that up with A Man Called Ove, that I talked about here. After those two smashing successes, I’ve resolved to read everything in Backman’s catalog. So, I started with this trilogy. It’s about two small hockey towns in the middle of nowhere Sweden. Since I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere Indiana, where everyone loves basketball, I could relate. The three books in the series are Beartown, Us Against You, and The Winners. I’m not going to lie, parts of this book made me very angry because it took me back to those small town mindsets that are the reason I left my hometown in the first place. But, in contrast, parts of these books were absolutely beautiful. It’s not always easy, and the last book especially is long, but if you commit, they are so worth it. I listened to them on audio, which I highly recommend, but the library also has them in print if that’s more your jam.
When I grew up, I moved south to a warmer place. Blair decided she wanted to move north to the land of sled dogs, the perfect ten below, and unrelenting darkness. So much so that she moved to Norway (from California?!) for a year as an exchange student. Then when that wasn’t enough, she worked for two summers leading sled dog tours on an Alaskan glacier that could only be reached by helicopter. While I might be amenable to spending a night in the Ice Hotel, I don’t think I’d want to relocate to the Arctic Circle. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. As a woman in northern latitudes, Blair was definitely in the minority and she had to deal with things because of that. This is a highly entertaining story that makes me feel kinda chilly.
This book was completely not what I thought it was going to be. I expected it to be some sort of survivalist memoir a la Sam McGee and his night on the marge at Lake LaBerge (fun fact: Sam McGee was from Tennessee). Spending a year on the North Sea coast sounds cold. And northern. But did you know that the North Sea actually forms the western border of Denmark? And from the stories in this book, it seems to be nice during the summer. The storms can be fierce, which I enjoyed reading about, but this wasn’t the snowy windswept tundra that I expected. The various essays in the book take us from the fjords in the north to the wind farms offshore in the west, even down into the Netherlands and Germany. I’ve never had any desire to visit this area of the world until now. After reading this, I’d love to go see Denmark because it sounds beautiful, peaceful, and different. Maybe you don’t need a sweater for this one, but hopefully it will help you get your mind off the heat in a different way. Just put on some calming atmospheric music and let Denmark take you away.
Ah, I feel refreshed. It may still be 100 degrees outside, but all this reading about hockey and sled dogs and the North Sea has me feeling cool and collected. The best part about these reads is that they absolutely count towards your Summer Reading Challenge. If you haven’t started yet, sign up today!