For all of you stuck in this humid nonsense with nowhere particularly air-conditioned or beachy to go, here’re some books to help you get through the dog days of summer. And to celebrate my inaugural post to this blog, I’m sharing my recipe for mango snow bubble tea.
It’s a rare thing, this heat that we’re getting. I don’t remember a single September day where cotton shorts were realistic since 2007. It’s a doubly rare thing that I find myself with the time to enjoy this weather. So to you uni students complaining about the 10-week term, there are perks to the quarter system after all.
A fourth of my friends are back in their lecture halls, immersed in macroeconomic theory and the rhetoric of the Ancients; another fourth celebrates its recent graduation from high school, and the sudden freedom from summer homework.
Then there’s my lot. Stuck in the limbo between returning to campus and the feel of a summer winding down. We’re a generation determined to remain in denial, lounging away the days until we’ll have to take out another loan on our souls for textbooks (which we will, of course, find out on the first day of class that it’s really another edition we need).
My last couple weeks of laziness were coupled with incessant page-flipping as I try to trail-blaze my way through the 67 galley books heaped up beside my bed. It makes a convenient night stand for my glasses.
If you’ve never read a galley book before, there’s a lot in common with pulling a plow through muddy ground. Most of the stories slip past, indistinct but for the faint impression of having utterly wasted your time. But then something snags, catches at the corners and forces you to slow your pace.
Without further ado, I present to you the top three titles I’ve read this summer. (I’m reading them in galley form because my backlog is horrendous, but these are all published and in print.)
By Linsey Barraclough
Escaping the heat to me means popping sunflower seeds and sipping snow tea on the porch; and for the perfect heat-chasing complement, then you must have no other than a bone-chilling thriller. Read fast, my friends, for this is no gentle page-flipper.
The story of Long Lankin comes from an old Scottish song, and had I known this book was going to make me so paranoid of dark hallways (–and don’t you dare laugh until you’ve tried–) I wouldn’t have read this after midnight by the light of my tablet. Bad, bad, bad idea. But it’s such a gripping read, if you aren’t bothered by pedantic exposition and clues that you’ll have to be awake enough to understand.
The Last Dragonslayer
I don’t keep many galley books, most of my copies go straight to the high school library or Third Place Bookstores. This is one that I’m sticking on my shelf for many years to come. It is reminiscent of the satiric fairytale-medieval universe of Patricia C. Wrede’s The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, full of snarky characters and quirky turns. I can just see all the Harry Potter/Last Dragonslayer crossovers now, and Hermione finding her calling in championing Humane Treatment of the Quarkbeasts.
UPDATE: The sequel is coming out this month, and Mr. Fforde is coming up to Seattle in two weeks for a book signing! I promise you, I will be there.
There is No Dog
I hesitated to call this a spiritual book, but I really can’t describe it any other way. It’s got a bit of wistful romance in it, maybe, and some much humor of the self-deprecating kind. It’s an unassuming, contemplative book, unadorned, transparent, and surprisingly emotive.
If I had to describe this book as a flavor, it would taste citrus-y, with a squeeze of fig to knock everything just that little bit off balance.
What books do you have on your shelves right now? What’s your favorite summer drink to go along with your reading?
Don’t we all love bubble tea? I love these for when I want a healthier alternative to what the local Vietnamese restaurant sells. Even better, you can control the sweetness and be confident there’s actually fruit in your tea, not powder.
1 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup tapioca pearls (optional)
- Prepare the tapioca pearls following the instructions on the package.
- Combine the frozen mango and condensed milk in a blender and crush. I prefer using frozen rather than fresh fruit because then I don’t have to put in so much ice, which makes the bubble tea watery rather than thick. If you don’t use frozen fruit, then you can substitute with 1 cup fresh fruit and 1 cup crushed ice.
- Slowly blend in milk and tea until the mixture is smooth and consistent. Try using other types of milk! Right now I love me my almond milk, and it lends a light fragrance.
- Scoop the tapioca pearls into a glass, cover with the snow tea, and garnish with a mint leaf.
Find these books on Goodreads! Click on the covers!