My Favorite Book

We Asked Several Readers Of Note To Share The Title And Summertime Memories They'll Always Savor

Summer Reading

June 26, 2005

Anna Karenina

by Leo Tolstoy

-- Anne Tyler, author

For all of my grownup life, I have re-read Anna Karenina every single summer. Or I used to. Then it seemed I started just saying I read it. Saying it now in print means that I will have to go back into my shelves and dig it out again. I'm looking forward to it.

Betsy and Tacy Go Over

the Big Hill

by Maud Hart Lovelace

-- Laura Lippman, author

The summer I was 11, I took this classic to Bethany Beach, along with six books by Walter Farley, having forgotten that I wasn't particularly interested in horses. I ended up reading Betsy and Tacy over and over again that week. I still re-read all Lovelace's work once a year.

Persuasion

by Jane Austen

-- Alice Steinbach, writer

Prepare to lose yourself in this smashing story of love lost and then regained in the nick of time -- all plotted, of course, in Austen's usual brilliant scenes of social comedy and mores. Add to that the author's delightful ability to spot from a mile off the slightest hint in her characters of such bad habits as pomposity, self-delusion and prejudice. But Persuasion goes further than other Austen novels. The love story is deeper, the characters slightly older, and it tackles in a very bold way the morally ambiguous nature of persuasion in all its forms.

The Long Goodbye

by Raymond Chandler

-- Andy Bienstock, WYPR program director

Our Baltimore summers always put me in mind of Raymond Chandler's L.A. On a hot summer night, I love to pull out a copy of The Long Goodbye and drink a gimlet along with Marlowe and his rich pal Terry Lennox. Aside from lines so good that you want to read them aloud to someone, The Long Goodbye is a wonderful meditation on friendship, and on doing what is right, no matter the cost.

Ice Haven

by Daniel Clowes

-- Benn Ray, co-owner, Atomic Books

With a story loosely based on the infamous Leopold & Loeb case, Clowes (author of Ghost World) weaves a multilayered story, in graphic novel format, that calls to mind a combination of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and the best films of Robert Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson. Clowes interweaves varying narratives, illustration styles and plot lines focused on specific characters to create a larger story and a portrait of a small town. Exquisite, complex, funny, heart-wrenching and disturbing. What more could you want from a summer read?

Absolute Friends

by John LeCarre

-- Sujata Massey, author

The best thing that can happen to a successful writer is for him to continue taking risks -- and John LeCarre has done that exponentially in his most recent books. This novel tells the life stories of two male friends, both retired spies, who are called back to duty after 9 / 11 for one last mission. The book raises serious questions about the new world order, and will alternately make you laugh and cry over the changing fates of its believable, endearing characters.

Love in the Time of Cholera

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

-- Andre M. Davis, federal judge

A sweeping, lyrical narrative that creates mental images that have stayed with me long after I finished the book. Having just returned from a brief visit to Chile, my first trip to South America, the book has been on my mind lately. It is the perfect book for the summer: long, rich in detail, culturally informative, and alive with real characters. Escapism to be sure, but a book in which to luxuriate.

Ball Four

by Jim Bouton, edited by Leonard Shecter

-- David Simon, writer, TV producer

To call this one of the greatest sports books ever is a heedless insult. This is a transcendent work of cultural honesty, a narrative account of life on a professional baseball team that somehow manages to speak to larger issues of who we really are and what America is and isn't. The story is laden with wit, humor and honesty; with every page, all that is hyped and hypocritical about ourselves and our heroes is simply torched -- and in the America of 1970, this kind of arson was something brave and remarkable.

Double Vision

by Pat Barker

-- Avi Decter, director, Jewish Museum of Maryland

Pat Barker tells intertwined stories of injury and recovery. A photojournalist dies while reporting on a world at war; his colleague meditates on loss and love; and a mysterious young man with a troubled past wanders about the countryside. The prose is alternately brutal and delicate, the story mesmerizing. The women who inhabit this novel are exceptionally well drawn.

The Notebook

by Nicholas Sparks

-- Freeman Hrabowski, president UMBC

The book reminded me of the fragile nature of life -- how nothing remainsthe same, and yet, as we go through life's changes, how love is the mostpowerful force in our lives.

Anything by Carl Hiaasen

-- Jed Dietz, Director Maryland

Film Society

He's such a cheerful iconoclast. Hiaasen writes great, funny characters (even the evil ones), takes us into parts of Florida most of us never see, makes an outrageous story seem perfectly plausible, and wraps all this in righteous environmental fury. What could be better ?

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