As I write this editorial, I am sitting on my front porch as a rain show sweeps through the area. My keystrokes match the cadence of raindrops hitting the porch roof, and I am reminded of all that I love about summer. There is no smell more refreshing that rain on freshly mown grass. To me summer is defined by many of my childhood pastimes - catching fireflies in an old Mason jar, playing kick the can with the neighborhood kids until way after dark and lounging on beach towels around the side of the city pool while visiting with friends.
And while I have gotten a little too old to engage in many of those summer activities, there is one that I still enjoy to this day and that is reading. As I look back on the summers of my youth, I can still smell that wonderful old-book scent that used to float up off the pages when I opened up the book to read the jacket. Many my afternoons were spent at the Clayton Public Library. There was nothing as magical to me as searching for the next book to read. I loved walking up and down the aisles of library bookshelves looking for titles that peaked my interest.
To this day, I am a book lover, or to use the technical term, a bibliophile, and summers provide more time than usual to read. Vacations are the perfect time to catch up on reading, and staying up late to read a good book seems easier on summer nights. Right now, I have two towering stacks of books on my bedside table, which include a biography of Walter Cronkite, the latest Joyce Carol Oates novel, "Candide" by Voltaire and "My Antonia" by Willa Cather to name just a few. My tastes vary widely, and as long as a book is well written, I'll read it.
I share all of this with you as a way to encourage you to read more this summer. Of course, I hope you read your Cassville Democrat each week from front page to back page, but I also hope you'll leave some time for casual reading. If you can't get away to some exotic locale for your vacation, pick up a book and take a trip to wherever the characters take you. Just recently, I experienced Japanese culture and history through the writing of Arthur Golden in his epic bestseller "Memoirs of a Geisha." Gifted writers have the ability to transport you to places you've never been before, and when you are done reading their words, you feel as if their characters have become your closest friends.
Our area libraries await you this summer. Library cards are free and there is no cost to check out books as long as you return them on time. If you're not a reader, then take your children to the library and get them hooked on reading. Summer reading programs are underway and there are weekly programs planned at local library branches to help introduce youngsters to the joys of reading.
In closing, we wish all of our readers a happy, book-filled summer. We hope you and your family enjoy whatever time you have together during these summer months, and remember, it's never too late to become a reader.