Pirates on rolling seas, spies lurking in the dark, crossed lovers seeking refuge, cowboys and Indians, war heroes, movie stars, politicos, spiritual leaders and outlaws, and let’s toss in an opera singer for good measure. These are just samplings of your new friends waiting in the pages of summer books to guide you along the paths of adventure, intrigue, romance, enlightenment and some good laughs when you kick off your flip flops, pop the cork from a chilled chardonnay and settle into your favorite lounge chair. Sound tempting? Wait until you check out these choices.
Let’s begin at…the beginning. Words. Our friend and frequent Pointless columnist Stan Glasofer warns us not to be intimidated by the title of his recommended book, Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries. Author Kory Stamper, a self-confessed nerd, reveals her life as a lexicographer with Merriam-Webster, painting a vivid portrait of a cloistered office environment where she spent long hours researching the history of words and their uses to accurately formulate short but abundantly clear definitions. Did I hear a yawn? Stan encourages us to give it a try. Books are, after all, assemblages of words, carefully chosen and structured to create pictures, intensify emotions, form characters. Fascinating! You may think this is definitely not a beach read. And you could be absolutely wrong.
Talk about characters, how is this for a book title: Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers and Swells: the Best of Early Vanity Fair. Always willing to share his favorite reads with us, Allan Hanrahan praises this anthology of the noted magazine’s articles that present a glimpse into our culture during the early decades of the 20th century. This collection of 72 pieces features such literary luminaries as P. G. Wodehouse, Robert Benchley, Noel Coward, Dorothy Parker, Robert Sherwood and Alexander Woolcott, whose gossipy little thoughts vividly bring to life the attitudes and more that changed our culture. It’s as delightful a treat as a summer lemonade—and just as tangy.
And as a “wrap” for this July article, our favorite local TV/radio host and announcer and network TV stage manager Greg Bicouvaris recommends, wouldn’t you know, Up Close by broadcaster, humorist and impressionist Roy Firestone. This collection chronicles his interviews and offers a behind-the-scenes look at many featured guests on his ESPN show. He estimates that he has interviewed more than 5,000 sports, political and entertainment personalities in his long career. This compilation presents the best of them.
I continue to be overwhelmed
by the response to this annual summer Book World feature here in the Oyster Pointer and am sincerely grateful to those who share their reading experiences with our readers. I think you’ll agree that these recommendations reflect a diverse and intelligent demographic. If you have comments you’d like to share, pop me an email. In the meantime, keep turning those pages. And stayed tuned for more reading adventures in August and September. A great big new world out there awaits us.