In my opinion, there are two options for summer reading. One is the perennial beach book: usually clothed in a brightly-colored cover (either eye-catching pinks for “chick lit,” the Meg Cabots and Sophie Kinsellas of the poolside set, or the grisly blood-red and police badge-silver of Patricia Cornwell‘s latest Scarpetta page turner), these are easily thrown in one’s kicky beach bag, quickly digested, and often involve a slew of sequels ready for the next dog day of summer.
On the other hand, these long summer days without the pressure of workplace deadlines and school projects (if you’re lucky enough to have a long vacation from it all, that is) can be the perfect time to venture into the world of truly dense literature. Always wanted to complete Proust’s entire heptalogy (that’s seven volumes in search of temps perdu, natch) but your spare time was always, well, lost? Now’s your chance. At war with Tolstoy’s massive tomes, or at least with the idea of finding leisure enough to finish them? Make peace with the Russian master during July’s pleasant doldrums.