Last week, several Georgia Booksellers got together to create a kind of "ultimate summer reading list" -- fiction, nonfiction, new books, hidden gems, cookbooks (of course!). Her ladyship, the editor's attention was caught by the very last category on this list, the "Essential Summer Reading," lead of course by that epitome of a summer book, Mr. Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.

Dandelion WineFrog and ToadThe Paperboy

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Frog & Toad books by Arnold Lobel
Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
Anything written by Charles Portis
The Paperboy by Pete Dexter
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

It is an admirable list as such lists go, particularly for the inclusion of "anything by Charles Portis" and the stories of Frog and Toad. It did set her ladyship wondering what her own "essential" summer reading list would look like. Is it books that one reads in the summer? Books that evoke the season? Stories that allow one to escape? Or those which move in that languid pace one associates with the heat and the feeling that nothing is really so important it demands rushing about?

Without any clear answer, here is her ladyship's attempt at her own private essential summer reading list:

Moomin Summer MadnessFried Green TomatoesEcology of a Cracker Childhood

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Love and Summer by William Trevor
Summer Will Show by Vita-Sackville West
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray
Dreams of My Russian Summers by Andrei Makine
Neveryona by Samuel Delany
The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
The Garden Party & Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield
My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir
Pentimento by Lillian Helmann
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

...and perhaps she had best stop there. Like all booklists, her ladyship has found that the longer she thinks about it, the longer they become. But summer, alas, does not lengthen correspondingly. For all of its sense of slow, languid days, it passes all too quickly.