Reading always turns any season into summer. Maybe it's because I associate my first bouts of time with books with time out of school, with summer afternoons on the back porch when the weather made it too hot to play, and the air seemed just quiet enough that you could focus your early reading skills on the page before you and make a story emerge from the shapes and squiggles printed there. Even for someone as fortunate as I am, someone who reads for a living, summer always feels like a special time.
For my recommendations for this particular hot summer now upon us I've got five works of fiction that I've been gathering together for the season, beginning with a just republished, long-out-of-print collection of stories by the Irish master John Banville. Four of these five books involve some sort of criminal mayhem, physical and psychological, and the last one has to do with the origins of life itself.