The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 1, 2012

Lee Duran: Summer reading recommendations fly across Internet

JOPLIN, Mo. — Memorial Day has passed and summer is here, which means it’s time to start reading. Call them beach books or summer reading, recommendations are all over the Internet.

Suggestions are all over the map, but I couldn’t discern one book as “The Big Summer Book of 2012.”

There’s plenty of time for one to emerge. In the meanwhile, here are a few ideas to consider.

The Web site,, listed “10 Highbrow Books to Read on the Beach.”

 “You don’t want to waste your time on something trashy,” they write, so the focus is on books that will “captivate you on the beach and still make you look smart when you get back to the city.”

Works for me. Among their suggestions:

  • “I Am an Executioner: Love Stories,” by Rajesh Parameswaran, where “a veritable menagerie of characters dance by, each in love, each captivating.”
  • “The Sisters Brothers,” by Patrick DeWitt, a “rip-roaring and often dryly hilarious Western picaresque ... praised from here to Thursday.” I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages, even more now that I know it will make me “look smart” when I get back to the city (look out, Joplin).
  • “You Deserve Nothing,” by Alexander Maksik, a gossipy novel about “torrid affairs and bad behavior,” leaving you titillated and challenged all at once. I’m interested, based on the title alone.
  • “Suddenly, a Knock on the Door,” by Etgar Keret, which is billed as “surreal and twisted” and full of laugh-out-loud humor. “Best of all, almost no attention span is required.” This is another big plus.

More summer reading suggestions come from They write:

  • If you want an old-style yarn: “The Angel’s Game,” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is a long sweeping novel set in 1920s Barcelona that deals with art, money, good and evil — all favorites.
  • If you want a page-turner: “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” by Stieg Larson — if there’s anyone left in the world who hasn’t already read the Lisbeth Salander books. It’s a page-turner for sure.
  • If out-of-school kids are killing you: “Bad Mother,” by Gina Ford, a “wry, rueful dissection of modern parenting.” I hope there’s lots of laughs in there.

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