Nancy Pearl’s Summer Picks

Memorial Day is fast approaching, and with it, lists of poolside reading recommendations.

Nancy Pearl presented hers on NPR’s Morning Edition earlier in the week. One of the titles is, of course, the first in her curated list of reprints, the Book Lust Rediscoveries series, the 1961 title, A Gay and Melancholy Sound, which she first discovered in the Annapolis Public Library when she was 18. She says it may be her “favorite novel ever” (amazing for someone who has read so many books).

Asked about the negative reaction from some independent booksellers over her decision to publish the series with Amazon, she replied, “I was not surprised, but sorry that happened. My loyalty has always been to…putting readers together with good books. When this idea was offered to many, many publishers, Amazon was the company that loved it and felt that it fit their mission.”

In addition to coming back in print, the title is available as an audiobook for the first time (Brilliance Audio).

Among her other picks is Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Nancy says her copy is so filled with markers for quotes she wants to remember that it is now twice its original size. A debut novel, it has been receiving a chorus of kudos,

The cover blurb from Karl Marlantes (Matterhorn, What It’s Like to Go to War) calls it “The Catch 22 of the Iraq War.”

The Washington Post — “a masterful gut-punch of a debut novel.”

The NYT Book Review — “everything is brilliantly done”

The Huffington Post points out Fountain “was Malcolm Gladwell’s prime example in an essay about how it takes 10,000 hours to become great at anything” and claims that the book “has already established itself as the finest novel about the Iraq War.”

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