What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

September 6, 2010

Confession of a Summer Reading Program Participant

I’m having a difficult time writing my summer reading confession, mainly because I’m not writing about my own memories but rather what Kerry is telling me my memories are. But since what she told me is pretty much in line with something I would do, I’m not disputing it or implying that she is up to something as nefarious as implanting memories. However, her interpretation of my motives differ slightly from my own, so it is there where we’ll have to disagree.

The summer I was in the second grade, the reading logs for summer reading participants were on display for all to see in the children’s library. I think this was more for ease of access rather than a way of checking out the competition. But since I have problems respecting other’s privacy, I apparently spent a good deal of time perusing the booklets of some of my classmates. Here is where Kerry’s and my version of the truth splits. She claims I made disparaging comments about the reading level of some of the books my friends were reading, outraged at their number-inflating methods. Apparently my sense of injustice was piqued by a future Titan of Wall Street reading Dr. Seuss instead of pursuing the literary peaks I was climbing in the Happy Hollister series.

I see it differently. For me, I was a seven year-old who was merely looking for reading recommendations in a pre-Internet age. I didn’t have blogs or websites to tell me what to read next. There was no “Amazon recommends” steering me in the right direction. So instead I relied on the informal network of peers provided by the unopened reading logs. And like someone who stumbles upon the reading list of my sister looking for a good book to read (“The Duxbury Book?” Seriously?), I was disappointed in the results.

Which leads me to my next confession. To the surprise of no one, I will not finish “The Lonely Polygamist” or “Bitter is the New Black” within the next sixteen hours. I read the first couple of pages of BITNB and couldn’t gear myself up for it. I paid top dollar/pound for TLP at the one bookstore in Edinburgh that was selling it and then spent the next two weeks frightened by its doorstop ways. But in other news, I am 195 pages into my favorite book of 2010, “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet,” and 250 pages into “The Resurrection Men." Neither will be finished by midnight, so my sister’s gargantuan lead remains safe. But I promise I will read them and the other required books before the year’s end, if only to satisfy the rules of the game. My sense of summer reading justice, apparently, remains intact.

My dog, Josie, amidst the books I had the best of intentions of reading this summer. It should be noted that the taking of the photograph instigated a large drop of drool to fall on Brady Udall's opus. I think it will be fine.

1 comment:

  1. You can spin it however you want, Brendan. You're just lucky that this all happened in the pre-digital age and that we don't have picture proof.