(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Literature professors Gary Schmidt and Susan M. Felch have previously been coeditors of Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season (2003), and Autumn: A Spiritual Biography of the Season (2002). Continuing this celebration of the changing forces of nature is a biography of the fairest season of all, summer.

Within the collection of thoughtful reflections are excerpts from such celebrated authors as Frederick Douglas, Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, and T’ao Ch’ien to lesser- known but movingly artful writers and poets. There are memoirs recalling the sheer joy of eating ice cream in the hot sun, and the arduousness of backbreaking farm chores that come with harvesting season. Included in each of the five sections of this book is a prayer and a psalm, greatly adding to the “spiritual” aspects suggested by the title.

One of the most interesting and provocative sections of this book invokes the Declaration of Independence, which was written by Thomas Jefferson during a simmering Philadelphia summer. Noting that Americans celebrate the writing and institutionalizing of this document every July, the author goes on to winningly weave the Laws of Nature and Nature's God with the powers of the earth and its seasons, the most cherished being that of summer.

With stirring memoirs, prayers, letters, poems, and even some warm-weather recipes, Summer: A Spiritual Biography of the Season is an enchanting and moving ode to the season. For readers looking for a thought-provoking yet restful book, Summer is a good choice.