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Badges of summer: Join our two-month quest to squeeze the most from the season

July 5, 2014


Earning this merit badge is easy. If you’re heading to the cottage this summer, don’t pack any books. Leave your e-reader at home, leave the magazines in the mailbox and leave it to fate. One of the peculiar joys of cottage life is to submit to the reading habits of the previous occupants.


You know the kind of books I’m talking about: Wedged between a Monopoly set dating from the 1970s and a neglected cribbage board, these books gather dust 10 months of the year. Hardcovers too heavy to bring home, water-stained thrillers, paperbacks with the back cover torn off, fantasy series that never made it to HBO, historical bodice rippers an aunt forgot in the guest bedroom.

There are certain authors who are native to cottage bookshelves: Dean Koontz; Patricia Highsmith; Stephen King (Needful Things is just about as common as mosquitoes). These aren’t the kind of books you’ll discuss at your next dinner party, but this is one of the purest reading experiences life offers, unencumbered by Goodreads or the New York Times Book Review. These are books that save you on afternoons when it seems the rain will never end, on evenings when there’s nothing good on TV, on mornings when all you want to do is stay in bed just a little longer. Best of all, it’s an opportunity to read outside your comfort zone, take a chance on a genre or author you’ve never tried before.

Read the full article @ National Post.