Fun and easy reads to crack open under the July sun

By John Hoover
©2015-Telegraph Publishing LLC

Good Reads1 copy Hopefully, dear readers, you will be able to get away on vacation sometime this summer. If you do, and you’re like us here at Misty Valley Books, you’ll want to take something to read with you. Just in the nick of time we’re here to provide you with our suggestions for Good Reads for your summer reading, books that are not only enjoyable but easy reads.

Breakfast with BuddhaBill recommends a series of books by Roland Merullo. “If you read Breakfast with Buddha ($14.95) you probably read Lunch with Buddha ($16.85).  Since Breakfast is so satisfying, you wouldn’t have passed up Lunch from the same, let’s say, chef. lunch with buddha A big city food editor gets thrust into an intimate trip and relationship with a Russian-Tibetan Buddhist monk, who, after Cubs games, water parks and plenty of meditation and wisdom becomes his “brother-in-waw” (sic).  dinner with buddhaNow we have Dinner with Buddha ($24.95), fully as filling as Breakfast and Lunch, and as funny and wise.  Great books for porch or beach reading this summer.

Amanda already pictures herself at the beach. “For me, beach reading requires a certain kind of book, one that is engrossing yet at the same time allows me to be distracted by the ocean waves and the goings-on of surrounding families without losing my train of thought.  So, this summer as I head out to the Cape, I’m taking Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood ($15)in cold blood to satisfy the true crime requirement, as well as Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen ($24.95), a memoir by Mary Norris, a New Yorker magazine editor.  Two very different books – but both should make excellent beach reading.”Between you and me

Kim reaches into an earlier time for her suggestion. “British author Rosamunde Pilcher, has reissued The Shell Seekers ($8.99). I first read this book in high school on the recommendation of my sister, and remember getting swept away reading it over summer vacation. On the surface, it’s the life story of Penelope Keeling, as seen through the lives of her grown children, as well as in flashbacks as she reflects upon her rather unconventional upbringing. But at its heart, it’s really about relationships — between parents and children, husbands and wives, friends, lovers — shell seekersand how even those who we think we know so well, can have entirely hidden lives that would surprise us.”

Jory’s last recommendation for this column is Winger ($11.99), by Andrew Smith. “Winger may not look like the typical beach read; it’s about a boy who plays rugby at a prep school and who is searching desperately for his place in the world. WingerBut once you’ve given this book a few pages of your attention, you will fall in love with its characters (at least some), the way Smith writes (warning: lots of swearing!), and its honest insider-look at being a teenage boy. One of my favorite books from the last year, and I read the whole thing on the beach.”

Sylvan likes The Lobster Kings ($16.95) by Alexi Zentner. “I’m a big believer that any story being worth told once is worth being told a hundred different ways. So, even though it isn’t the first novel based on Shakespeare’s King Lear nor one told from a female point-of-view, I was excited to pick up Alexi Zenter’s The Lobster King. Her version of this familiar tale of a powerful man dividing his legacy between his daughters is set in a modern island fishing community. lobster kingsZenter adds a bit of fantasy tied to the sea, an approach I think the Bard probably would have appreciated.”

Sweet ExpectationsI’ve recently had the pleasure of reading Sweet Expectations ($15), the second novel in Mary Ellen Taylor’s series that started with The Union Street Bakery ($16), and enjoyed it as much as the first. Daisy McCrea returns to Alexandria, Va., to take over the family bakery although she had planned on an entirely different career path. The two stories deal with life at the bakery, with Daisy’s search for the birth mother that abandoned her at the bakery when she was 3 years old and events in her love life.Union Street Bakery

Since the Union Street Bakery novels are considered “women’s fiction” I thought I’d add a recommendation for those of you who enjoy a good thriller. I’ve long been a fan of David Baldacci and I consider his latest opus, Memory Man ($28) to be one of his best. Retired detective Amos Decker can never forget anything, Memory Manincluding the night he came home to find his family brutally slain. Called out of retirement to help solve a vicious school shooting, he finds himself having to reach into his past in the exciting conclusion.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeGood Reads

About the Author: After a 35-year career as a high school social studies teacher, John Hoover and his wife, Sally, retired to Vermont. He lives in Windham where he serves as a Justice of the Peace and Library Trustee. He works part time as a book-seller at Misty Valley Books, is active at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and sings in several choral groups.

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