As days get longer and the sun's rays get stronger, books that are lighter and brighter stand a better chance of squeezing into packed beach bags and suitcases. But that doesn't mean summer books need to be weightless. Finding the perfect balance in a single bound edition can seem impossible, but it's a challenge that's just right for independent booksellers like Rona Brinlee of The BookMark in Atlantic Beach, Fla., Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Co. in Milwaukee, and Lucia Silva of Studio City, Calif.'s Portrait of a Bookstore. Among the three of them, they've managed to find 16 books that fit the bill. Showoffs!
This summer's rays of literary sunshine come from 15 authors whose topics range from loaves of bread to small-town life in the Texas Hill Country. There's fiction from Sarah Blake, Hilary Thayer Hamann and Brady Udall, whose 600-page novel, The Lonely Polygamist, about a man with four wives who finds himself drawn to a fifth woman, was picked by two of our booksellers. There's also poetry (and a memoir) from quadriplegic writer Paul Guest, the story behind the making of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, and a first-person, nonfiction book from Ander Monson that's definitely Not a Memoir. The title even says so.