8 (smart) books for the beach(Read article summary)
From the Monitor's summer reading guide: beach reading for smart readers.
The Monitor's 2010 summer reading guide goes online on Monday. But until then, here's a list of recent books lively enough to keep the pages turning yet smart enough to keep you thinking. In other words, good reads â€“ but no empty calories.
1. Imperium, by Robert Harris (Simon & Schuster, 320 pp., $14). This â€śaccount of Ciceroâ€™s dazzling career ... conveys vivid, accurate depictions of Roman political intrigue through the use of historical research.â€ť (CSM review 10/6/06)
2. Little Heathens, by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (Random House, 304 pp., $14). This Ââ€śgenerous-heartedâ€ť memoir about Depression-era life on an Iowa farm â€świll have you itching [to] put up some tomatoes and try out [Kalishâ€™s] recipe for homemade marshmallows.â€ť (CSM review 8/3/07)
3. Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes (Knopf Doubleday, 494 pp, $16). This novelized account of a true incident in which Sherlock Holmesâ€™s creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, battled to overturn an unjust conviction is â€śas pleasing a read as they come, and yet it is also the chance to admire the skillful work of a top contemporary novelist.â€ť (CSM review 1/17/06)
4. The Perfect Summer, by Juliet Nicolson (Grove Press, 290 pp., $15). This â€śsparkling social history about Edwardian society on the brink of World War Iâ€ť makes â€śperfect beach reading for Anglophiles.â€ť (CSM review 5/25/07)
5. Provenance, by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo (Penguin, 352 pp., $16). This â€śpreposterous but true story of ... perhaps the greatest art fraud of the 20th centuryâ€ť is â€śimpossible to put down.â€ť (CSM review 8/11/09)
6. Let Me Finish, by Roger Angell (Mariner Books, 320 pp., $15). Longtime New Yorker editor Roger Angell gracefully recalls â€śhis childhood, service in World War II, and work at the [New Yorker] â€“ along with his love of sailing, movies, and long car trips.â€ť (CSM review 6/6/06)
7. The Telephone Gambit, by Seth Shulman (W.W. Norton, 256 pp., $14.95). â€ś[T]he strangeness of truth definitely overtakes fiction here as Shulman explains how he unraveled Alexander Graham Bellâ€™s claim to have invented the telephoneâ€ť â€“ making this book a â€śdetective storyâ€ť that â€śupend[s] history.â€ť (CSM review 1/8/08)
8. A Summer of Hummingbirds, by Christopher Benfey (Penguin, 304 pp., $16). â€śIntellectual and personal plotlines intersect, intertwine, collide, and finish by creating a delicate patternâ€ť in this examination of â€śthe lives of the American intelligentsiaâ€ť of the 19th century, including Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade. (CSM review 5/31/08)
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.