Let’s talk summer reading

The temperature has topped 80 degrees and that’s all I need to start thinking about that joy of joys, summer reading. This was not a winter of great literature for me, but one of great fun. So if you are in the mood to read just for the escape and pleasure of it, here it comes — my annual summer book suggestions.
This winter, I did a lot of my book shopping at the local thrift store and the library used-book shop, with a couple of Christmas book store gift cards thrown in. My one cerebral endeavor was our president’s “The Audacity of Hope.”
Then I evened things out with “Gods Behaving Badly.”
“Gods” is a very clever book written by a Brit named Marie Phillips and tells the tale of the Greek gods, who are alive but not so well, living in Manhattan. They are on the skids since no one believes in them anymore.
Another one just good for a solid laugh is “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” by Larry Doyle. I like to read the book before I see the movie, so I jumped on this when a friend offered it. It will, if nothing else, make you really glad to be a grown-up.
To satisfy my taste for Southern authors and settings, my Atlanta friend sent me the delightful bon bon by Celia Rivenbark called “Belle Weather — Mostly Sunny with a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits.”
I got hooked on her with “Bless Your Heart, Tramp” and “We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle.” She is laugh-out-loud funny.
Then I read “Gods in Alabama” by Joshilyn Jackson. It is a very original story of a Southern woman who escapes to New York thinking she murdered a classmate, and what happens when she returns.
I also immersed myself in sequels to “Gone With the Wind,” and thoroughly enjoyed both “Scarlett,” by Alexandra Ripley and “Rhett Butler’s People,” by Donald McCaig.
I then decided to pursue a newfound taste for mysteries and read “Bad Faith,”  the first in a series by Aimee and David Thurlo. It’s set in a monastery in New Mexico with a nun as the main sleuth. My favorite part was that the nuns called their broken-down car “the Anti-Chrysler.” Next I will launch into “Haunted Ground,” part of a second mystery series by Erin Hart set in Ireland.
Two books keep slipping to the bottom of my basket — “Fear of Physics” by Lawrence M. Krauss, and “Freakanomics” by Stephen D. Levitt. I was intrigued enough to buy them but they just resemble my college textbooks too much. I may get them read this summer, but they were recently beaten out by “Men May Come and Men May Go, but I’ve Still got my Little Pink Raincoat” by journalist Gigi Anders. This is actually a very funny book, despite the goofy name, so while not intellectually edifying, it’s what they call a perfect by-the-pool read.
I’d love to hear what you have read and loved lately, cerebral or mind-candy. I get cranky if my book basket falls below the half-full mark.

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