Summer is all too short, and it gets quickly filled with family plans and travel opportunities. But at some point you can sit down, slather yourself with sun block, and take a big sip of that iced tea – or that Long Island Iced Tea. Summer also is the time you get to read that book you bought a few weeks ago – or a few decades back.
Here are three recommendations, plucked from the Way Back machine. But rather than review them, the goal here is to entice you. Every novelist hopes to snare you in the first paragraph or two. So here goes.
Oh! And students, we’re waiving the essay on what you did during your summer vacation. However, book reports are due when you return to class in the fall.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – The Magical Car
A novel written by Ian Fleming
“Most motorcars are conglomerations (this is a long word for bundles) of steel and wire and rubber and plastic, and electricity and oil and gasoline and water, and the toffee papers you pushed down the crank in the back seat last Sunday. Smoke comes out of the back of them and horn-squawks out of the front, and they have white lights like big eyes in front, and red lights behind. And that is about that – just motorcars, tin boxes on wheels for running about in.
“But some motorcars—mine for instance, and perhaps yours, are different….”
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Ian Fleming. Illustrated by John Burningham. Random House 1964. 114p.
A novel written by Stephen King
“‘Oh my God!’ my friend Arnie Cunningham cried out suddenly.
“‘What is it?’ I asked. His eyes were bulging from behind his steel-rimmed glasses, he had plastered one hand over his face so that his palm was partially cupping his mouth, and his neck could have been on ball-bearings the way he was craning back over his shoulder.
“‘Stop the car, Dennis! Go back!
“‘What are you—
“‘Go back, I want to look at her again.
“Suddenly I understood. ‘Oh man, forget it,’ I said. ‘If you mean that . . . thing we just passed—”
Christine, Stephen King. Viking Press, 1983. 526p.
The Car Thief
A novel written by Theodore Weesner
“Again today Alex Housman drove the Buick Riviera. The Buick, coppertone, white sidewalls, was the model of the year, a ’59, although the 1960 models were already out. It’s upholstery was black, it’s windshield was tinted a thin color of motor oil. The car’s heater was issuing a stale and odorous warmth, but Alex remained chilled. He had walked several blocks through snow and slush, wearing neither hat nor gloves nor boots, to where he had left the car the night before. The steering wheel was icy in his hands, and he felt icy within, throughout his veins and bones. Alex was sixteen; the Buick was his fourteenth car….”
The Car Thief, Theodore Weesner. Random House, 1967. 370p.
Each of these books is available in various editions and bindings at https://www.amazon.com.