Summertime, and the Reading is Easy

A Librarian Suggests Some Escapist Fare

Cover of P.F. Kluge's 'Biggest Elvis'

hide captionCover of P.F. Kluge's 'Biggest Elvis'

Detail from the cover of 'Gossip Hound'

hide captionDetail from the cover of 'Gossip Hound'

Web Extra: More Book Excerpts and Discussions from Pearl

Listen 'Persuader' by Lee Child

Listen 'The Easy Way Out' by Stephen McCauley

Listen 'Monkeewrench' by P.J. Tracy

For librarian Nancy Pearl, a good summer book has to be light enough to hold above your head when you're lying on the beach. "You have to be careful in the summer — you don't want to get into these 900-page tomes," Pearl tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. At that point, it just becomes exercise.

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Pearl shares six of her favorite light reads for the summer:

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan: In this imaginative science fiction novel, Morgan creates a world set in the 25th century, where mankind has finally achieved a way to avoid death — digitally.

Biggest Elvis by P.F. Kluge: Set in a seedy district near a U.S. naval base in the Philippines, Biggest Elvis is a highly entertaining novel and a dark commentary on American imperialism.

The Easy Way Out by Stephen McCauley: One of Pearl's top-ten favorite books, The Easy Way Out is a tender and humorous novel about dysfunctional lovers and families.

Gossip Hound by Wendy Holden: Holden's latest book is a satirical, behind-the-scenes look at the London publishing business. Clever writing and outlandish characters make this a good "chick-lit" pick.

Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy: A mother-daughter writing team — under one pseudonym — has written a riveting debut thriller. Set in the Twin Cities, Monkeewrench follows a series of grisly murders that mimic a serial-killer computer game.

Persuader by Lee Child: Child's thrillers remind Pearl of the classic John D. MacDonald series featuring Travis McGee. "Reading Lee Child's novels, my heart just pumps uncontrollably," she says.

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