Column – Spend some summertime reading, too

Published 5:16 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

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Folks, how are you doing this summer so far? Have you been roadtripping, traveling a lot? Hiking or camping? Or, having a staycation, while spending more time with family and friends? That’s all good. Stay safe always, though.  

Whatever you’re doing to relieve yourselves from the hot and humid, muggy and sweaty, simmering, sweltering and sizzling summer heat, be sure to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of liquid, like water or gatorade, after doing outdoor activities for a while. 

If you’re indoor, or staycation, though, would you like to spend some summertime reading, too? I’m sure you’ve got some planned fun activities this summer. But, wherever you are, don’t forget or neglect to exercise, not only your body but also your mind with interesting books or reading materials. There are plenty of these books in your city library. They’re on the shelves waiting for you. Besides, books are one of your best friends, aren’t they?

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Mind you, every summer, I always think of children and how they spend their summer productively. So I’m always reminded of this quote by an English poet, playwright, essayist and politician, Joseph Addison (1672-1719): “Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed.” 

Just as we able people, young and old, need exercise physically, we need to also exercise our brain so our mind will remain healthy and well. This includes our spiritual and social life, too. Praying and engaging in human contact or connection are important for our wellness and wellbeing.

Reading is a wholesome, mental activity that can make your summer more interesting and memorable, challenging and, quite frankly, stimulating to the brain.

Reading helps sharpen your mind and makes you more knowledgeable about issues, things, people and events.

When reading a travelog or an article about this or that place, you can indulge yourself imagining and wondering, appreciating and feeling like you’re in that place. If, for example, you’re reading a biography, you come to know how and why or when that person lived and what contributions he or she made. 

You have a choice to read. Go for fiction or nonfiction, a poem or a short story, a novel, a newspaper or magazine article that can be inspiring, informative and educational. Better yet to read anything that helps your mind to think and understand. 

If you’re a parent to young ones, you’re doing a great service if and when you read to your children regularly. When they see you reading, they also will be curiously inspired to browse or open a book and read. Or, they will ask or bug or bother you to read to/for them, I bet. 

I remember reading an article on reading with children by Michael Kelly of Albany Times Union years ago. He offered the following ways or tips to get your children to read for fun:

  • Read to your children.
  • Praise your child for reading.
  • Find out what your children are interested in and help them find books that match up. 
  • Factor reading time into your children’s schedules. 
  • Help your child find a book series he or she enjoys. 
  • Encourage children to read at a young age, when they’re most enthusiastic about reading.
  • Set aside time (for) yourself, and read in front of your children. 
  • Urge your children to start a book club with friends.
  • Stick them in the library. 
  • Use a book list to help your child choose age-appropriate , interesting books. 

Alright, folks, go to the library this time. If you have young child/ren, or grandkids, bring or take them with you. Ask or check with the librarian or her assistants for help and information. There’s a summer reading program or activity going on there, I’m sure. Browse in the shelves books that you can borrow, if or when you have already a city library card. For young ones, the beginners especially, you can borrow picture books for them. 

Then, start reading to them loud enough so they can hear you pronouncing, enunciating or reading the words or phrases correctly. 

See what reading or the power of reading can do? It can change us and our whole perspective of life and things around us. It can motivate us to do positive things for others. It can illuminate and enlighten our narrow viewpoint of life and, therefore, open our eyes to new horizons, new possibilities to improve our life-world. It can help transform us and our world. It will ultimately transform us into a well-informed and concerned citizens who have the power to change our life-world for the better.


Happy reading, while enjoying summertime!


Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy, lives in Suffolk and Chesapeake. Email him at