These current times demand comfort books, right? So this isn’t really a book review but a recommendation for one of those books that make you sigh with content for a while at least. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson offers us a glimpse of summer on a remote Finnish island. It’s full of nostalgia of those summer days when time seemed to slow down and you couldn’t tell if it was Monday or Saturday. ❤
“Every year, the bright summer nights fade without anyone’s noticing. One evening in August you have an errand outdoors, and all of a sudden it’s pitch-black. It is still summer, but the summer is no longer alive.”
Reading has always been the way to take my mind away from whatever stress or difficult times I’ve experienced. With the ongoing corona virus situation it has become even more important to be able to take a break from everything, and just have that time to read even if it’s just a few pages during a coffee break. So please don’t give up on reading even in these times when your mind can be filled with worry and stress. Take a break and whisk yourself away to wherever the pages might take you.
If you know Moomin characters, you are familiar with Tove Jansson’s most recognizable work. When I picked this book for my bookclub to read, I deliberately chose something else from Tove Janssons books than the Moomin ones, since those are likely already familiar to many of us. Our theme was actually to combine reading something from a Finnish author as well as reading something from a female author, since this book was chosen during March and the Women’s History Month. The Summer Book delighted many of us and offered a safe haven as the corona virus situation grew more and more serious.
The Summer Book is a delightful collection of summer moments at the island. The main characters are a grandmother and her granddaughter Sophia. They share the summer and all it’s simple moments together over the years. The book is almost like a collection of short stories and as you read forward, you notice that the book isn’t telling about one summer, but of many. The theme of being young and old reflects beautifully in the relationship of the granny and the girl, but also in the way the summer proceeds from early summer months to the last moments of summer. Nature and it’s simple, fascinating details is a major theme in The Summer Book and the way everything is described is very familiar to those who know Tove Jansson’s style. Everything is described in beautiful detail, and you can really see/hear/feel what the nature is like from the way Tove Jansson writes. The girl Sophia and her granny seem to be quite the opposites based on their age, but as we read more about them, it’s easy to see how similar they are especially in the way they share imagination over nature. They both teach each other about life, and there is a sense of comforting harmony in the way we have all been the child and one day will be the senior.
I really enjoyed re-reading The Summer Book. It had been a while and I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed reading this the first time. It made me miss our summer cottage, which is also on an island. Hopefully traveling within Finland will be allowed by Midsummer so we can again spend those slow summer days together at our summer cottage. ❤
By the way, The New York Times had an article where authors recommended comfort books to read and The Summer Book is there recommended by Elizabeth Gilbert. 🙂 Read it here.
The Summer House fills these prompts from the two Reading Challenges I’m doing this year:
There are grandparents in the book (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book that passes the Bechdel test (Popsugar Reading Challenge)