Issue of July 18, 2010

We’re deep into summertime, and It’s hot. How hot? Depends where you live. But regardless of where that is or what the specific temperature is or whether you include wilting humidity in that, it is likely that the heat is probably making you feel like spending the day  splashing in cool water, lying out under a shady tree or on a long porch while drinking up pitchers of iced tea, sharing a picnic in a city park, or just staying indoors with a fan or air conditioner. We hope it’s with a book in your hand too. And just in case, we’re going to tell you about some that we think are pretty darn good—or not.

Southern heat and Southern food are inevitable companions in the summer, and Nicki Leone is facing both as she ponders a vast array of garden-fresh produce and her own inclination for baking. What helps are cookbooks, especially those that teach “how to cook in the summer heat.”  Comfort food, here it comes: In the Heat of the Southern Summer Kitchen.

Summer reading as Henry Ward Beecher once said, lies between “laziness and labor.” So true! Lauren Roberts has the perfect book for that “task,” and shares her joy in it in The Hazy Daze of Summer, The Lazy Days  of Reading.

When a chimpanzee researcher is invited to a sanctuary in the Congo to study bonobos, her first reaction is not “great” but “what?” Her research soon turns up the fact that this close cousin of the much-studied chimpanzee holds the still-to-be-understood key to an unusually peaceful existence with others. Lindsay Champion finds in her memoir a powerful story of both animal and culture in Bonobo Love, Not War.

Was the “Golden Age” always “back then”? It depends on what you like says Lauren Baratz-Logsted, who takes a ride back into time through beloved books. Does she find that things might have been better? Find out in Wish You Were Here—Well, Maybe Not.

And don’t forget. You have a chance to win a hardcover copy of Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s popular young adult novel, Crazy Beautiful. See the end of her column for details. All it takes is an e-mail request to be entered!

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