Thanks to the longest day of summer, I was able to finish reading The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert. I had the grandest goal of finishing this book when it was released in February, but alas, book club selections and many other distractions preventing me from achieving it. I’m so glad I stayed with it. I settled in with the final 100 pages on a beautiful summer night with a glass of Prosecco and bowl of pesto pasta – a wonderful pairing, in my opinion, for this romantic and, at times, harrowing tale. I hesitate to use the word”romantic,” as if it somehow cheapens the story, or implies predictability – neither of which apply to The Swan Gondola. This love story set amid the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair is unique, and Schaffert succeeds in accurately portraying the quirks and intracacies that define a relationship. I won’t give away the plot, but I truly treasured that this story wasn’t typical. There’s a time and place for novels like that as well, and I appreciate them at different times for different reasons. But this novel will likely strike a chord with anyone who has ever felt the bliss or pain of true love.
Next, I moved on to some lighter reading… much lighter. I picked up the book I Wish I Had… by Giovanna Zoboli, and illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. Why did I select this picture book intended for children, you may ask? A couple reasons: 1) I’m a sucker for anything involving giraffes, and while that’s another blog post for another day, this book so happens to have a giraffe on the cover. 2) Both the author and illustrator have the letter “Z” in their names. If you’ve got a “Z,” you’re all right by me! I first discovered this book while at a library conference. I grabbed a poster of the book cover thinking I could hang it in my office, but I didn’t want to hang it up without reading it, so there you have it. Anyway, the book wasn’t about giraffes, and if I’m being honest, that was somewhat disappointing. However, I was greatly impressed with the illustrations. They were so ornate and unusual that I found myself paging through the book again and again. I could also see how this book would encourage kids to use their imaginations and even take the story further on their own.
All of my weekend reading allowed me to log my first books for Summer Reading Program, and collect yet another badge! Yay! Whether the book took me four months to read or four minutes, both helped remind me that even with all of the other summer distractions, reading is one that I welcome and enjoy. Even when I feel like I have too many other things to do, it’s worth it to make the time for reading.