Summer reading

It’s been brutally hot outside, making it perfect weather for staying in and reading a book. Right now we’re in thunderstorm mode, complete with darkened sky and flashing lightning, making it also perfect weather for staying in and reading a book. Any weather is book weather.

I’m trying to nudge the kids along to “Harry Potter,” because I think they’d enjoy it, and also because my son is going to a Harry Potter camp and I want him to bone up on the basics. You don’t want to be the only kid at Harry Potter camp who can’t cast a simple “Accio wand!” spell. You want to know which house you want to be sorted into. (Okay, maybe I’m the one who should be going to Harry Potter camp.)

But first we need to finish “Sideways Stories at Wayside School,” because we’re halfway through it and the kids refuse to put it down until we’re done. They’ve had lots of giggle fits with this one. I’m fascinated by how thoroughly Louis Sachar can switch up his tone; “Sideways Stories” is nothing like “Holes” is nothing like “There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom!” (I actually kind of hate the title of that last one because it has very little to do with the book, which is thought-provoking and moving. The ex-teacher who gave me my copy said she used to tear up when she read the book with her students; sure enough, when I read it, I teared up too.)

Other discoveries this summer have been David Wiesner’s “The Three Pigs,” which mixes up 2-D and 3-D style art and might be my favorite retelling, and Mac Barnett’s “Chloe and the Lion,” which thoroughly obliterates the fourth wall and makes fun of itself the whole time. So we’re being fairly meta around here.

When not reading to the kids, meanwhile, I’m re-reading “American Gods,” because it’s been a while. This decision may or may not have been influenced by seeing the preview for the Starz series based on the book. (Ha.) I don’t even get Starz and I’m excited. I will find a way to watch this, oh yes.

I’m sure we’ll get some more books in before the summer’s over. At the very least, I’m looking forward to returning to Hogwarts.