13 January 2009

Summer holidays are almost over

I mean, the Onions have been back at work for a while, but there are others signs: the trains and trams go back to normal timetable, The Age stops being the Summer Age, the regular radio presenters get back from holidays, Back To School Savings ads for stationery and black shoes appear and prices for stone fruit creep up. Luckily, we can always read about other people's glorious summers.

Here are some of our favourite books set in the summer holidays:

Swallows and Amazons
by Arthur Ransome. Camping on an island without parents, sailing, eating Pemmican, meeting and warring with Amazon pirates. What more could anyone want?

The Indigo Girls
by Penni Russon. Self-reinvention, surfing, excellent daggy family camping ground action and the pain and glory of real friendships.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Not strictly summer holidays, but certainly with that flavour. Gerry: curious, patient, observant, obsessive and free to endlessly explore. The Durrell family: stark raving bonkers hilarious, but the sort of bonkers that seems to make complete sense. A hymn to the Corfu that used to be.

Ash Road by Ivan Southall. Three teenage boys, a camping trip, a searing north wind, a bushfire, a township under threat - a classic Australian disaster-survival story.

Storm Boy by Colin Thiele. Not strictly in the summer holidays, but qualifies because of its windswept beach setting. How can anyone forget the story of Storm Boy and his beloved pelican Mr Percival, a simple heart-breaking tale of love, loyalty, trust and friendship - guaranteed to get you weepy.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Again not set entirely in summer, but it has the right feel when Sam Gribley runs away at the start of summer to the Catskill Mountains to live in the wilderness and fend for himself - another survival story with a bird best friend, this time a peregrine falcon called Frightful.

Stride's Summer
by Jenni Overend
Boys and birds - clearly a sub-genre. When his father dies, Stride adopts his pet cockatoo, Ferd. They develop a strong bond in the summer that sees Stride struggle to survive a bushfire and learn about grief and acceptance.

What have we missed?


Misrule said...

Not one of the Onion's, but Nick Earls's After January is one of my favourite summer (romance) novels.

The Alien Onions said...

Misrule - ooo yes, good one. I have summery feelings towards most of Nick Earls's books.

Only two of our list are Alien Onion books - all suggestions welcome. We are not publisherist. (new word I just invented)

lili said...

I love Simmone Howell's Notes Notes from the Teenage Underground - summer projects!

And Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Dairy Queen - you know it's gotta be a good book when it's about football AND I like it.

And for a twist I'll throw in Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones - because main character David HATES going home for the holidays (and he hated it 20 years before Harry Potter did!).

A latte beckons said...

Lots of cricket in Eight Days of Luke, which you've got to love.

Can I vote for Michael Chabon's Summerland? Even though it's mostly about baseball?