"Henry James was a man of many words. But when it came to selecting just a pair that he would define as 'the two most beautiful words in the English language,' he chose the words, 'summer afternoon.'"
–Rosemary Herbert, Oxford Press USA blog
With the usual apologies to our members based in the Southern Hemisphere, Red Room asked its members to blog last week about the end of summer. Some hated sticky sweat and forced fun-in-the-sun, and couldn't wait for the leaves to fall. Others were more like me and feel energized when the sun hits your skin, and feel, as William Carlos Williams wrote, "In summer, the song sings itself."
Three Red Room members' entries stood out this week. Each one describes idyllic late-summer days in three very different parts of the world:
- Allan Dorr takes us back twenty-nine years with an American childhood story of shooting BB guns, chasing frogs, playing catch...and narrowly averting death in his funny post "Where I walk through a solid object."
- Laura Di Giovine's post is set on the Italian Adriatic coast, and is full of vivid descriptions that seem both exotic and somehow familiar. Enjoy "An Italian Summer."
- In Mumbai, summer never really ends; however, the monsoon season at least brings a respite from the heatwhile bringing its own problems. Indians have their own rituals for this time of year, described fondly by Nupur Burua in "Mumbai Summer."
Nothing makes a late summer afternoon sweeter than a good summer novel, and these three bloggers will receive good ones by Red Room authors. Lisa Wingate's newest, Beyond Summer, is a New York Times Best Seller whose excerpt contains an intriguing line: "The accident wasn't her fault. It was the stilettos that did it." Gayle Brandeis evokes hot summer days in Delta Girls, about two women whose lives "entwine in an unforgettable novel of warmth, depth, and wisdom." The secluded beaches of a sun-drenched Mediterranean island are the setting for Samantha Bruce-Benjamin's debut, The Art of Devotion, "a story of deceit, jealousy, and the heartbreaking reality of love's true power."
Other great posts about the end of summer include:
- Len Boswell is ripped from another Norman Rockwell-esque summer back to school and the cruelties of learning cursive. Don't miss his hilarious "Summer's Drunken Ampersand."
- "Beauty and Bands," Leslie Musoko's strange meditation on beauty fading with the end of summer, might take more than reading to understand, but it's worth the effort.
- For many parents, the end of summer means sending kids back to school. In "Bittersweet End of Summer: No Children Were Harmed in the Making of this Summer," Jess Wells congratulates parents "who who have gotten through another summer without homicide, suicide, or patricide" (Ouch!)
- In "Some Sweet Day," Anthony Flacco sees the passage of summer and the passage of time combined in children's faces.
- Richard Martin's little gem, "In the Thin Fall Light," shows what it's like to have both a child's and an adult's perspective about play and maybe a little danger.
- Pat Bertram mourned her soulmate's death this summer and "lived as a child," in the moment, in a desert. Her profoundly moving post is called "My Desert Summer."
You can read all of the end of summer blogs here. I hope you'll choose your favorite, and leave a comment letting the blogger know why you enjoyed it. See all of Red Room's past blog topics listed here, and suggest a few more in the comments. Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room