Some people use the summer to catch up on all the big fat classics and IMPORTANT books, but my reading tastes get pretty populist in the heat. Right now, I'm reading Stephen King and Peter Straub's The Talisman, and I think it rocks. Plus, there was no waiting list for it at the library, and there's something to be said for getting what you want immediately without having to pay for it.
If you've resigned yourself to the fact that you're not getting The Yiddish Policemen's Union in time for your trip to Destin, here are a few good stand-bys to take on the plane with you, with reviews in ten words or less. No waiting, guaranteed.
Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison
Overlooked gem by the author of Bastard Out of Carolina.
Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo
There's a shark in the children's swimming hole! Holy crap!
Sweet and Low: A Family Story by Rich Cohen
Artificial sweetener, betrayal, and the mob, in one tasty package.
Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl
Never have I been so captivated or skeeved out.
Revenge by Stephen Fry
Like The Count of Monte Cristo, only modern and shorter.
Different Seasons by Stephen King
By turns, hilarious and sad. Also includes the Lardass story.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderios de Laclos
As juicy as the movie. Juicier, in fact.
The Lies of Locke Lamora
Like Ocean's Eleven in fantasy novel form.
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil
Iggy Pop gets the clap! Heroin everywhere!
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
You should look away, but you won't.
In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton
Hmmm... a lot of those women owned land. Interesting.
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Patchett came up with this story while working at TGIFriday's.
My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Hasidic boy wrestles with the sacred and the profane.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
My whole book club liked it, even the boys.