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Beat the heat with a book

Charlie Owen
Special to the Daily
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Summer time in Vail is considerably more laid back than the winter season. So, what does one do with all that spare time? There are movies to see, concerts to attend, and endless outdoor sports, but what about reading a book? Reading is often neglected for more mindless entertainment, but the lazy summer months are a perfect time to catch up on some great literature.

This summer there is something for everybody to enjoy, from blockbusters to historical epics. This short guide should help you pick the perfect book to read while tanning on the beach or just basking in a hammock ala the backyard.

This is the last in the Harry Potter series, and if past experience is any indicator, this will be the book to beat this summer. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s star pupil returns to break sales records and fight the forces of evil, all while trying to maintain a “normal life” and relationships. Harry’s past exploits have put him in harms way many times and put his powers to the test, and the series has brought him to the brink of adulthood and the end of his tenure at the school. Unless you have read the previous six books in the series, it may be hard to keep up with all of the characters and plot twists, so you may want to catch up first. There are nearly 70 people on a waiting list for this book, said Nicole Magistro, owner of the Bookworm in Edwards. You might want to get your name on that list now, too.

This book by Lisa See, author of “Snow Flower” and “The Secret Fan,” takes place in 17th century China. Peony is trapped by family traditions and wealth, and promised to a man that she has never met. She longs to be free of these trappings and find her own way through life. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy the details of the period that are brought to life, while fans of romance will relate to the heroine.

John Updike’s disturbing tale of religious fanaticism and secrecy is as real life as it gets while still being fiction. The story follows Ahmad, a teenage student, and Muslim, who hates his surroundings and the materialistic society that he lives in. His behavior draws attention from his guidance counselor and other classmates, but this does not stop Ahmad from constructing a terror plot to bring about his vision of vindication.

This historically accurate episode in America’s Civil War details the struggle of the Shenandoah, a Confederate ship that conducted a series of successful raids on Union ships on the high-seas. Unfortunately for the crew of the Shenandoah, the Confederate Army surrendered to the Union in 1865. The crew was completely unaware of this and continued their campaign against the Union until they realized what had happened, and became the last ship to fly a Confederate flag at sea.

Stephen King is back with a brand-new novel. Okay, so it’s really an old novel he wrote using the pen-name “Richard Bachman,” that he just found stashed away and forgotten in the corner of a room he used to work in. But he has dusted it off, done a little thoughtful editing, and gotten it published. Blaze is a criminal. He is also mentally challenged as the result of his abusive childhood. The book flips back and forth between Clayton Blaisdell’s (Blaze) kidnapping of a baby worth millions, and his dark, haunting past as a child. King himself has said that Blaze is more of a noir crime-novel than his usual ghost and ghouls fare. Fans of either genre will probably enjoy this dark thriller.

“I think because we’re gearing up towards another big political year, we’ll have a lot of new releases in political books,” Magistro said.

And she is right ” George Tenet, Bill Bradley, and Barack Obama all have newly released books out, and Hillary Clinton has two on the way.

Sports enthusiasts have not been forgotten. “Seven Seconds or Less,” by Jack McCallum, goes inside the Phoenix Suns’ ’05-’06 season. There is also “Big Papi,” which chronicles David Ortiz’s Major League Baseball rise to fame.


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