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Web Exclusive: Joyce Meskis' Must-Read Summer Books

Thirty-four summers of watching readers whisk books off the shelves and into beach bags and suitcases have taught Tattered Cover founder Joyce Meskis what makes a good summer read. Here, she shares this year's favorite picks.
By
June 2008

Click here to meet Tattered Cover founder Joyce Meskis and learn more about her iconic book biz.

Across the nation, the Tattered Cover is one of the most adored independent bookstores. Writers and editors speak fondly of the literature it carries, and bookstore owners envy its multiple outlets. The Tattered Cover's road to success has been a long one, spanning over thirty years, and along the way founder Joyce Meskis has learned not only what it takes to run a successful business but also what readers really like. Her must-reads for summer are funny, serious, and wonderfully diverse.

A Few Seconds of Panic | Stefan Fatsis
With fortysomething years under his belt and 170 pounds on his 5' 8" frame, Stefan Fatsis, New York Times bestselling author of Word Freak, joined the Denver Broncos. For three months, he ate, studied, and trained with the team. Now, he unveils the inner workings of the NFL and the professional football mentality.

The Downhill Lie | Carl Hiaasen
After a 32-year hiatus, novelist Carl Hiaasen returns to the game of golf. His part-memoir, part-golf introspection ties together hilarious stories of lessons and gimmicky golf equipment, while also analyzing the over-development of Florida, rotten politicians, and lobbyist's golf gatherings.

When You are Engulfed in Flames | David Sedaris
The sixth collection of essays from this beloved writer finds meaning in life's most bizarre moments. In reflections that range from making coffee in a house without running water to popping boils his back, David Sedaris writes about love, family, fear, and strangers.

Rome 1960 | David Maraniss
In 1960, when Italy's capital city hosted the Olympic Games, Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals, the Games were televised for the very first time, and Cassius Clay, only 18 years old, introduced himself to the world—four years later he became Muhammad Ali. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Maraniss weaves an honest and thoughtful narrative about that Olympic summer.

Prisoner of Tehran | Marina Nemat
New to paperback, this memoir tells the story of a young Catholic woman living in Tehran in the 1980s. Marina Nemat, writing for her high school newspaper, criticizes her government's Khomeini regime and is arrested, beaten, and sentenced to die. But in a fateful twist of events, Nemat marries one of her guards and changes her destiny.

Palace Council | Stephen L. Carter
The third novel from this Yale law professor and author begins on Martha's Vineyard in 1952. Twenty prominent men plot to manipulate the President of the United States. Shortly there after, a young Harlem writer finds one of these men dead, which leads the writer's long and winding search for the truth.

So Brave Young and Handsome | Leif Enger
This tale of outlaws, adventure, and returning home is novelist Leif Enger's first book after his bestselling Peace Like a River. It's Minnesota, 1915, and Monte Beckett's life has lost meaning. Then he meets Glendon Hale—an outlaw in search of the wife he abandoned many years before—and he sets out on a crazy adventure to California.

Finding Nouf | Zoe Ferraris
When 16-year-old Nouf goes missing in the Saudi Arabian desert, her family hires Nayir, a devoted Muslim desert guide, to find her. As he searches, Nayir exposes the nuances of the highly segregated Middle Eastern society and confronts his desires for the forbidden: female companionship. This first novel of San Franciscan Zoe Ferraris is a cultural revelation.

Dear American Airlines | Jonathan Miles
The New York Times cocktail columnist and Men's Journal's book columnist turns his pen to fiction. This funny and poignant novel begins with a father's attempt to reconnect with his estranged daughter, but when delays at O'Hare keep him from reaching her wedding, the story becomes a long and reflective letter to American Airlines.

Story of Edgar Sawtelle | David Wroblewski
Colorado author David Wroblewski returns to his home state of Wisconsin in this dramatic story of family torn apart and a young boy forced to find his way in the world. Edgar Sawtelle is a mute living idyllically on a Wisconsin farm. Suddenly, his father's unpleasant murder challenges him to seek the truth and the unlikely companionship of three dogs.