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Nancy Pearl Unearths Great Summer Reads

Illustration: Digging books up from the garden.

Unlike a lot of people I know, my summer reading doesn't differ significantly from the reading I do the rest of the year. I'm always looking for new authors, older titles I might have missed, books I want to reread, and a nice mixture of fiction and nonfiction. While I understand the concept of beach reading, for me it doesn't mean light reading, but rather choosing books whose ultimate destruction by sand and water won't concern me overly much because I know that I can easily replace them. (For example, I've now bought — over the years — four copies of Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan, because I take it with me each summer to reread and it always ends up too grit-stained to take home.)

So here's a diverse selection of books I've enjoyed recently, including two mysteries; a reprint of a book long out of print; a beautifully written, emotionally resonant memoir; and a moving and important novel about a group of American soldiers, survivors of a firefight in Iraq, back in the United States for a victory tour. I hope you'll find at least one that sounds good to you.

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Corrected: May 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
The discussion of A Gay and Melancholy Sound in an earlier version of this Web story mentioned that it is part of the Book Lust Rediscoveries series, published by Amazon, but did not clarify that Nancy Pearl edits the series and has a business relationship with Amazon.