Summer Fun in the Sun!

I see a lot of book covers in my work and I totally judge those books by their covers. I have a fondness for gothic mysteries. Give me a grim landscape with a tattered tree line and a huge spooky house and I’m going to pick up that book to take a second look. I hate legal mysteries and so skip right over books with gavels or the scales of justice. They say not to do that (whomever they happen to be), but I know I’m not alone. That’s why writers want bookstores to display their books facing out instead of stacked up by the spines, and it’s why you will see so many of our new books displayed so you can view the covers.

It’s still summer out there — so much heat and stickiness. Let’s take a look at some of the resources we have that can enhance your outdoor experience. We’ll start off by looking at some books with canoes or kayaks on the covers: these books could contain water travel, watery picnics, water explorations or miles and miles of shore to watch. Fiction books may have murders or romance. Nonfiction books may have personal stories about canoe trips, or they may be guide books to help you choose your next river. (Missouri has Missouri has 51,978 miles of river so lots of opportunity to cool off!)

Portage book cover

Portage” by Sue Leaf is one of those personal story books. Travel with her family as they teach her more about nature and working as a team to explore. Similarly, “Two Coots in a Canoe” is a personal story, but of adults in retirement who decide to float a river and then “…rely on the kindness of strangers…” for shelter each night. One book delving into family life and the other into accidental community, both sharing their experiences on the water.

Kickbacks Kayaks and Kidnapping book cover

The Cursed Canoe: In Which Molly Experiences the World-Famous Labor Day Canoe Race” by Frankie Bow is a light-hearted mystery set in Hawaii’s Mahina State University and is full of Hawaiian terms and terrain. Reviewers think of it more as women’s character-driven fiction than a mystery. “” is set in Kentucky and is part of Tonya Kappes’ series about the Happy Trails Campground and its owner, Mae West. May has been renovating her campground for the past six books, so you may want to start at the beginning of the series. Help solve these mysteries of death and mayhem while enjoying two very different places on the water.

Paddling the Ozarks book cover

Moving back to nonfiction, let’s look at some of the actual waterways in Missouri! We have several good travel guides, or if I may, paddle guides. “Paddling the Ozarks” by Mike Bezemek shares 40 of the best trips for you, giving such details as difficulty, maps with access points, GPS coordinates and more. Bezemek is a regular contributor to Canoe Kayak Magazine. “” by Brett Dufur and the Missouri Department of Conservation helps you locate 58 trips down the river.

Oh, and you don’t actually have to get into a canoe or innertube or whatever floats your boat in order to enjoy yourself. Personally, I love the Current River and really hope to get to Johnson’s Shut-Ins some day soon. I rarely paddle anything, rather being the person who takes my chair into the shallows so I can sit and enjoy a conversation with family and watch my grandchildren. Tons of fun!

Let me know in the comments if you have any favorite rivers to float or picnic along side! I’d enjoy finding some new places to visit.


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