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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Department of Book Reports 20 Books for Summer Reading

Summer Reading! Is there anything finer? This year, there is much to chose from. Here are some of my favorites and some I can't wait to devour.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. (Riverhead $25.95) I loved The Kite Runner (Riverhead $15.95) and this second novel is even better. This time Hosseini examines three women's lives in Afghanistan and finds them worth less than a cat's.
John Connolly has a new Charlie Parker thriller, The Unquiet (Atria $25.95) that I've just started. Connolly is an uncommonly good writer that I'm always happy to read.
Lee Child has another Reacher novel worth dropping everything else for: Bad Luck and Trouble (Delacorte $26)
Three Bags Full, by Leonie Swann (Flying Dolphin $22.95) is so quirky, I've got to read it! A detective novel in which the sheep must solve the murder of their shepherd. The UK edition was very favorably praised.
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman (Pantheon $22.95) inhabits the world of Superheroes and their villainous counterparts.
Armistad Maupin has returned at long last with Michael Tolliver Lives (Harper Collins $25.95) Won't it be great to go back to San Francisco this summer?

The book I'd most like to spend all day in a hammock with is Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow by Zak Smith (Tin House Books $39.95) Just because.
Another hammock day could be spent In the Company of Crows and Ravens, John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell (Yale University Press $18.00)
Both of Joshilyn Jackson's hilarious and touching novels are out in paperback now, gods in Alabama (Warner $12.95) and Between, Georgia (Warner $13.99 ). I'd follow these with Sarah Thyre's Dark at the Roots (Counterpoint $22.95)
Nature books are great, and can provide easy armchair travel to the wilderness. The Golden Spruce, John Vaillant (Norton $14.95) is a cautionary tale of environmentalism gone wrong. Richard Preston takes us up to the top of old growth Sequoia in Northern California in The Wild Trees (Random House $25.95)
The darker side of travel is explored in Terri Jentz's Strange Piece of Paradise (Picador $15.00) Re-counting the brutal attack she and her high school girlfriend survived in 1977, Terry revisits central Oregon and reconnects with the people of the small town and those who helped her.
Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation (Simon and Schuster $14) traces out the death sites of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. With digressions of course.
I love all of Barbara Sjoholm's work (even back when she was Barbara Wilson!), and this looks to become another favorite. Icognito Street, How Travel Made Me a Writer (Seal Press $15.95)
Jane and Michael Stern reflect on a life on the road, eating their way across America. Two for the Road, Our Love Affair with American Food (Houghton Mifflin $24)
Best Book to curl up and read to a kid:
Owen & Mzee, The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paul Kahumbu (Scholastic $) After the tsunami, a hippo and turtle became close friends. This book will make you smile.

And one for the sports fans: Baseball Haiku: The Best Haiku Ever Written About the Game (Norton $19.95) Opening to a random page:

first drops of rain-
puffs of dust
rise from the infield

So, what's in your summer reading stack?

As always, these books are available at Jackson Street Books, Seattle Mystery Bookshop and Fine Independent Bookstores eveywhere!

democommie™™™™®© will be spending the rest of the summer re-reading My Pet Goat, despite my best suggestions.

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