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Stick These Books in Your Beach Bag

The best summer reading: minimal brain cells required.

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(Giga-light)
Sparkle Life
By Kara Lindstrom
Three women, their lives split between New York and L.A., are ascending from pampered hipness to true adulthood—which here means the dubious rewards of Hollywood as well as that storied quest for the ideal husband. It’s high-IQ chick lit.

(Mega-light)
Anybody Out There?
By Marian Keyes
Keyes also breathes new life into chick lit—no small feat considering that this is her eighth in the pastel-colored genre. In the story of Anna Walsh, a New York PR princess whose breezy life is derailed by a gruesome accident, Keyes cuts down on the froth but leaves the fun and romance intact.

(Super-light)
Learning to Kill
By Ed McBain
The 25 lightning-paced stories collected here cover the apprenticeship of the late, great crime writer. Written before 1957, each tale anticipates McBain’s wildly successful “87th Precinct” novels in a different way.

(Very Light)
The Foreign Correspondent
By Alan Furst
Summer’s best spy novel follows an unusual double agent: a journalist. In 1938, Reuters stringer Carlo Weisz comes to Paris to replace the murdered editor of an Italian resistance paper. An exhilarating read.

(Light-ish)
Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee
By Charles J. Shields
An impressively unauthorized biography of the famously reclusive author: Ever wonder how much she helped on Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood? (A whole lot.) Or why she never wrote another book? (Fame doesn’t become her.)

Summer Stuff for Last-Minute Planners, Students, Workaholics, and the Jitney-Averse
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How to Pretend You’re In Brazil
Ten Thermometer-Tested Cool Escapes
The Best Summer Reading
Ten Great Nano-Vacations
Rent a Summer Place After All


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