volume two, chapter five
The long days of summer have arrived. And with it the sweet pleasure of turning the pages of a book, your fingers staining the thin paper with just-eaten fish and chips, the sun high and tide low and lazy.
Afternoons stretch out in front of you like a picnic and the words that have waited all year to find you do — lying on a sea-soaked towel or swaying gently in a hammock, you surrender to idleness, in your own world where you are finally alone with your summer read.
Below, you will find five writers from the UBC Creative Writing program who take us back to a summer in their past and the book that made an impression on them. Read and listen as they take you back in time and don&rsuqo;t miss their recommendations for what should be on your summer reading list this year.
by Kevin Chong
It was 1987: We were moving into the city from Ladner, a place I loved. My parents had purchased an old house in Marpole and were renovating it through the summer. Meanwhile, we stayed in my grandmother's one-room apartment on Hastings, a few blocks east of Main. The area was rough, with the sounds of smashing bottles waking me in the night, but nowhere as distressed as it's become. My younger brother and I shared the pull-out couch while my parents slept feet away in my grandmother’s bed.
That summer, I became distinctly aware of my lack of space. This was how my parents lived in Hong Kong, so they didn't think much of it. But for me, my only escape was to sit on the balcony through the summer night and read Sherlock Holmes. In his adventures, long-held deceptions were uncovered, criminals apprehended. But what intrigued me then was the notion that people had private lives. That they could keep hidden their true selves, if only for a while, from others. In my spot on the balcony, until the light from the apartment grew too dim to read, I created my own private world.
Recommended Summer Reads
In my spot on the balcony, until the light from the apartment grew too dim to read, I created my own private world.
Thank you to our co-creators who generously took time away from their teaching and writing to contribute to this story: Alison Acheson, Amber Dawn, Kevin Chong, Susan Musgrave and Timothy Taylor.
A distinct and special thank you to Annabel Lyon who helped make this story possible and Steven Galloway for letting us film in his office and turn off his fish tank for short periods of time while doing so.
More information on the UBC Creative Writing department and its programs.
Story team: UBC Communications and Marketing — Margaret Doyle, Digital Storyteller; Michael Kam, Web Developer/Coordinator; Lina Kang, Web Coordinator; Justin Lee, Video Production Assistant; Adrian Liem, Senior Web Coordinator; Jamil Rhajiak, Communications Coordinator, Digital Information Channels; Aida Viziru, Web Interaction Designer.
Published: July 2015