Over the past four days, my family has been celebrating my father's 90th birthday. Seventeen of us gathered at a large house on the salt marshes of Chincoteague Island, Virginia. So, steeped as I am now in the sights, sounds, and scents of the island, I have to begin by mentioning Marguerite Henry's books, Misty of Chincoteague and Stormy, Misty's Foal, both of which fostered my own childhood love of horses, as well as my children's and now my grandchildren's. We've been reading them together.
As for my summer reading, I would highly recommend State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett. The "story centers on Dr. Marina Singh's quest to investigate the death of a colleague who went deep into the Amazon to check on the efforts of a Dr. Annik Swenson -- a research scientist and former teacher of the heroine who has gone AWOL while developing a drug that prolongs fertility in women into advanced ages. Marina must confront her former mentor, her own medical skill and use all the nerve she possesses to discover many more truths than she bargained for." Not only was the plot compelling, but the ethical questions raised in this novel make for some interesting discussions.
A book I am currently reading and chose for it's unusual, alternating points of view is A Dog's Way Home, by Bobbie Pyron. Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this "is an unforgettable tale of the many miles, months, and mountains that divide two loyal friends—but that can't possibly keep them apart." The voice I find most compelling is that of the dog, a sheltie named Tam. I am amazed at the way the author has managed to get into the head of the dog in a realistic and unsentimental manner.