Many treasures are non-material-like a loving family or wonderful friends, like health and peace of mind, or like beautiful memories of special places and moments. Jon C. Stott relives the latter in his new book Summers at the Lake (Modern History Press, 2022).
In these autobiographical personal essays, Stott puts in words many golden memories of his lakeside life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and those of his childhood days on Canada’s west coast. Each essay brings to life scenes of living in nature in all its purity and peace: paddling a canoe into sunrise on the longest day of the year, watching a child take her first kayak ride with her father, gazing at a bald eagle, riding air currents high above the lake, witnessing a hummingbird defend his feeder against intruders, and dodging campfire smoke while burning marshmallows and telling scary stories to wide-eyed kids.
In style, Stott’s essays read like prose poems. In mood, they bring together the romantic-the joy of simple, lakeside living in nature-and the reflective. And the two together also hold good therapeutic value. In his words:
These essays are meditations about the joys of simple lake side events and encounters with the world of nature.
Summers at the Lake is mainly inspired by two lakes that co-exist in the author’s mind and soul. First is Shawnigan Lake, on the west coast of Canada, where the author spent his childhood and early teen summers. Included in memories of those days are a few of the essays his father, Art Stott, a newspaper man, wrote about those years, i.e., 1940-1955. The second one is Crooked Lake, a small lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where the author has spent extended summers since 1985.
Sharon Brunner, of U.P. Book Review, praises Stott’s work for capturing the wonders of U.P. She notes, “In Summers at the Lake, much can be learned about life in the U.P. and its enjoyable places. You can explore the wonders of the U.P. while dipping your toes into the everyday experiences of life near Crooked Lake.”
Bob Rich, author of From Depression to Contentment, compares the therapeutic power of experiencing nature’s peace to that of reading Stott’s essays. He says that reading Summers at the Lake will give you the same benefits as meditating in lovely surroundings in peace and calmness.
Jon Stott’s Summers at the Lake is officially coming out in print on the 1st of May, 2022. For details and updates, follow www.ModernHistoryPress.com.
Jon C. Stott, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Alberta, has spent most of his summers beside lakes - as a boy at Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, Canada, and, since 1971 (when he was a professor at Western Michigan University), at lakes in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Since his retirement, he has written non-academic books about minor league professional sports and the craft beer boom, along with retellings of traditional legends and folktales. The stories in Paul Bunyan in Michigan: Yooper Logging, Lore & Legends are set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is currently writing a celebration of and guide to the craft breweries and brewpubs of the Upper Peninsula