The BlogLily Summer Reading Program

Although this looks suspiciously like a wooden worm, it is actually a boomerang.

I love everything about library summer reading programs, but the thing I love the most  is the swag:  the little sheet they give you so you can fill in the names of the books you’ve read.  The stickers you stick on the little sheet as evidence that you’ve finished a book.  The bookmarks!  The buttons!!  And the prizes:  the ticket to an A’s game, your very own paperback book.

Which brings me to my favorite summer reading prize of all time, the one they’re giving out at the Berkeley Public Library this summer:  a boomerang.  No.  Really?  I love that.

The boomerang is the perfect symbol for what happens when you become an enthusiastic reader.  You read that book and your first reaction is almost always to tell someone else about it.  And before you know it, they’re telling you about the book they just read that you’ll like too.  That’s about the path of a boomerang, isn’t it?

the path book sharing takes

Actually, around here the first reaction to reading a good book is to dress up like your favorite character and go around sword fighting people.  Or to immediately ask, “are there any more like this?”  That last question is my favorite reading question of all time.  You can do this on Amazon, of course, but it’s a lot of fun to see if you can come up with “more like this.”

I’m pretty sure I have a point here.  Yes, I do.  I’m going to have a BlogLily Summer Reading Program because I don’t see why kids should have all the fun.  It will involve downloadable swag, so you too can follow along.  You might have to supply your own stickers.  In a pinch, you can just draw something.  And yes, there will be prizes.

Stay tuned.  I’m not an artist.  But I figure I can make a decent summer reading sheet thing.  I’ll give you the sheet, but you have to write down your books.  Most importantly, you have to do that “more like this” recommendation.  You don’t, however, have to give them boomerang ratings.  Unless you want to.  And even if no one signs up, because, you know, kids these days are too busy playing on their i-things to fill out the reading program sheets, I will still be doing this.

In advance of the official roll out of the BlogLily Summer Reading Program, I am going to report on my very first summer reading book.  I’m well on my way to winning that boomerang.

Book:  Ordinary Thunderstorms

Author:  William Boyd

Boomerangs:  5 (out of 5, naturally)

Before it was cancelled because it was probably not a great show, the bloglily household spent many pleasurable Tuesday evenings watching a show called The Event.  It was about aliens and humans, and whether they could live together when there were a lot of aliens and the humans were taking up all the room.  What I loved most about this show was the hero.  He was an unlikely hero — a good looking young guy of about 30, with what looked like excellent computer skills and a fine future in IT.  But then, oh, but then!  His life is turned upside down and suddenly he is on the run from pretty much everybody.  And you know what?  He acquits himself beautifully, despite the fact that he was really headed for a tech career.  Turns out, he’s strong and fast and totally driven.  Plus, it comes in handy to know how to hack into the CIA’s computers.  Plus the white house’s.

That’s what the hero of William Boyd’s  Ordinary Thunderstorms is like.  He’s an unassuming enough scientist who knows a lot about clouds. And then, and then — he witnesses a murder, gets blamed for it and all of a sudden, he’s sleeping on the ground and growing a heavy beard.  That he acquits himself well gives nothing away.  The pleasure is in reading how he does it.  What could be a more perfect summer book than that?  It is not, for example, Tess of the d’Urbervilles.  Quite possibly, and objectively Tess is a better book than Ordinary Thunderstorms, but, if what you’re after is a hero who’s good on the run, Tess is not your woman.   .

Only criticism:  Actually, not a criticism.  More a thought.  It’s awfully hard sometimes to pick a really good villain.  But pharma?  Somehow that’s just not scary enough.

Are there more like this?  Well, there’s a great Harrison Ford movie called The Fugitive that you might enjoy.  Doctor on the run.  I believe Tommy Lee Jones is chasing him.