A note from Magan: I’m beyond honored (thrilled, excited, ecstatic) that Morgan Matson is guest posting for Rather Be Reading today. Morgan is one of our very favorite authors who never fails to wow us with her incredible writing. We deeply loved Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. There’s no doubt that Morgan’s books are a pre-order/auto-buy for us. We asked her to take over Rather Be Reading today to share one of her masterful playlists with us and to let us know what her summer essentials and must-reads are.
Summer is my absolute favorite season. There’s a reason my first two books – and the one I’m revising now – are all set during the summer. To me, summer is worth looking forward to all year. The days are long, it’s fine to eat ice cream at almost any hour of the day, and flip-flops (or, frankly, bare feet) become totally acceptable footwear.
There are certain things that I NEED to have in my summer, and come August, if I haven’t fulfilled these criteria, I might go a little manic in tracking them down. My summer essentials:
I think you need to go to the beach at least once in a summer. Even if you’re lucky enough to live in a place that’s warm and you can go to the beach year-round, there’s just something about the beach in the summer. Make a day of it – half the fun of the beach is packing up the beach bag and snacks. My essentials? Magazine, paperback, sunglasses, sunblock (I’m practically a vampire, and need crazy-high SPF), iPod, backup paperback, candy (preferably individually wrapped so that sand doesn’t compromise the whole enterprise). I like staying at the beach until it gets cold and you have to put on a sweatshirt. And if you can stay until it gets dark, is there anything better than stars above the water? I think not.
As much as I love the beach (and I DO – just ask Jessi Kirby, since I’m always showing up uninvited at her beach house and inviting myself for dinner) I grew up spending summers at a lake house in the mountains of Pennsylvania (which I might have, um, used as inspiration for a book 🙂 ). So to me, it’s not summer without lots of trees and cicadas at night and too many mosquito bites. To balance out the beach, you need s’mores over a fire and the smell of woodsmoke at night.
3. A blockbuster, a bag of popcorn, a diet coke.
I look forward to summer movies all year. Nothing against small, nuanced, deeply felt, Oscar-bait movies, but I can’t WAIT for summer blockbusters. I’m so happy when I’m in an air-conditioned theater, with salty, buttery popcorn, watching superheroes banter and punch each other. Bliss.
4. A great soundtrack.
You need that perfect summer playlist, the one that, when you come across it in your iTunes library in November, will remind you of a sunburn on your shoulders and driving with the windows down, the wind whipping your hair around. I tend to make new playlists every two weeks, but I find my songs of the summer show up over multiple playlists. And this is not the time to be a music snob! Sometimes the best summer songs are the poppy ones that just will not leave your head. They also don’t have to be current – one my favorite things is to discover and older song and repurpose it as one of your summer songs. [Find Morgan’s Playlist at the end of this post!]
Summer is when I dig into that to-read pile that’s been gathering dust. I also think summer is the perfect time to try out a book that might not be something you’d normally read. Some of these aren’t new, but some books I’ve LOVED so far this summer: Fire With Fire (ARC), Eleanor & Park, The Moon & More, Golden, Nantucket Blue, Rules of Summer, Dark Places, The Interestings, Siege and Storm, and Shadow and Bone.
6. An adventure.
This is crucial! This can be whatever – but you have to have one. If it’s taking a road trip with your BFF or getting lost on the way to the party with your crush (this might possibly be getting lost on purpose. No judgment). But you have to have that one (or two or three – hey, it’s summer) so that when it’s December, and someone says something about the summer, you’ll smile and refuse to answer when people ask you what you’re thinking about.
Have a most excellent summer!!
Morgan’s Summer Playlist
Morgan graciously put together this amazing playlist for us.
If you’d like to listen to it in its entirety, join us by listening on Spotify.
Don’t have Spotify yet? No worries — find all the songs listed below.
1. Nightswimming/ REM
2. Fallen/ Imagine Dragons
3. Cruise/ Florida Georgia Line
4. Die Young/ Ke$ha
5. The Downeaster Alexa/ Billy Joel
6. Back and Forth/ Operator Please
7. Submarines/ The Lumineers
8. A Better Son/Daughter/ Rilo Kiley
9. Out on the Town/ fun.
10. Love Like Woe/ The Ready Set
11. Running Out of Moonlight/ Randy Houser
12. I Love It/ Icona Pop
13. Take Me Home Tonight/ Eddie Money
14. Entertainment/ Phoenix
15. Never Wanted Your Love/ She & Him
16. Get Lucky/ Daft Punk
17. Just Like Heaven/ The Cure
18. Forever/ Walter Meego
19. I Always Knew/ The Vaccines
[Because Spotify is silly and doesn’t have Fallen by Imagine Dragons, here it is on YouTube.]
Morgan, thank you so much for stopping by Rather Be Reading!
xo, M + E