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Summer reading: local booksellers offer up the best poolside reads this season

Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 15:05

I don’t know about you, but my summers fill up fast. It’s as if I thought everything put off in the last nine months could somehow be completed in my three months of “free time” (rationalization: because the days are longer). College students are busy. So, yeah, for nine months out of the year, it’s okay to forgo hair cuts, calling your mother, cleaning your bathroom, getting that thing on the side of your tongue checked out. It doesn’t mean you should. It’s just okay if you have to. What I always feel worst about neglecting, though, is the eight-foot stack of books acquired with the best intentions and abandoned with the same kind of shrug we time-strapped folk know well.

So, yeah, I understand summer’s a season of frantic catch up, but it’s also a time to kick back and dangle your calves in chlorinated water full of half-naked bodies (unless you’re a ginger and have to stay indoors). So, don’t let your hands idle in this heat lest they swell into sausage casings. And don’t turn the page, even if the last thing you think you wanna do is read; Circumstance (and College Times) aside, we’ve got the perfect summer reading companion to help you zone out, grow, cook and ROFL.




“The Book of Deadly Animals”

Gordon Grice


“See that hyena on the cover? He and his buddies would kill the crap out of you. In fact, this book is all about animals that would kill the crap out of you. Did you know that the US military covered up an insane number of shark attacks during WWII? It's true. This book is my two favorite things -- fascinating and brutal.”

– Kyle Hague, courtesy of Changing Hands Bookstore


“What the F*@# Should I Make For Dinner?”

Zach Golden


“Being a broke college student with a love for food and a girlfriend who is always cooking for me, I often find myself staring at the fridge or walking around grocery stores in a state of indecision, like I'm thinking about buying a car or something. If this sounds like you, this book can help. It makes cooking fun, especially if you have the occasional vegetarian joining you for dinner (completely ruining your previous plans that took 45 minutes of walking up and down the aisles of Trader Joe's salivating at all the delicious, meat-centered dishes that sprang to mind). Zach Golden has taught me how to create great meals from amazing, practical ingredients that don't suck! Ingredients that are easy and delicious, and recipes written in Golden’s hilarious voice.”

Krysten Schoville, courtesy of Changing Hands Bookstore


“The Sugar Frosted Nutsack”

Mark Leyner


“If the title of this book doesn’t immediately strike you as somewhat humorous, you may not be its intended audience — the insane vulgarity only gets worse from here. The story is written in a non-traditional narrative, shifting from obscene to mind-numbing (mind-numbing in the best possible way, mind you), although not in a pretentious way. Much of the prose resembles the circular diction of a scientific or philosophical essay more than a typical narrative. The book presents itself as a critical analysis of an epic of the same name (‘The Sugar Frosted Nutsack’), but it also assures the reader that this book about the epic is indeed the epic itself, not a book about the epic, which has been recited by ‘blind, drug addled bards’ for thousands of years. Yet somehow ‘T.S.F.N.’ tells the story of our modern gods in an age of reality TV and social networks, and about their latest prophet/martyr Ike Karton. The author, Mark Leyner, is probably best known as the co-writer of the humorous trivia series ‘Why Do Men Have Nipples?’ but he has consistently published fiction throughout his career as well.”

– Jeremy Birks, courtesy of Changing Hands Bookstore


“Eating the Dinosaur”

Chuck Klosterman


These (sometimes) brief essays are perfect for all my casual toilet readers out there – or those of you with short attention spans. In fact, Klosterman is perfect for short attention spans. Period. You’ll be so amused (or maybe even a little enraged) by his audacity to compare Kurt Cobain to David Koresh or defend those dastardly Swedes who wrote “Dancing Queen” that it’ll take at least an hour before realizing you’re still perched on porcelain and you’re butt’s somehow sore and asleep. Klosterman will also ruin every movie you’ve ever loved about time travel and, in turn, makes reading about sports interesting (even for someone, like me, who isn’t really into that stuff.) Trust me, you’ll learn a lot about yourself in these 200-something pages. And, yes, the title will eventuallymake sense. You’ll also forever wish your friends could be in on Klosterman’s little theories. Note: if you were born after 1992, there will be references that go over your downy dome.

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