How to pick a summer book

Summer reading is all about compromise and eating popsicles before they melt, so it might not be the best time to start War & Peace. Here's some manageable picks.

Summer is all about compromise and eating popsicles before they melt. It might not be the best time---humidity kills ambition---to pick up that 1,000-page tome you've been telling everyone you're going to read. The purists are gasping, but if Jane Austen can be torn apart in terrible "chick" movies, why not let the undead have their turn? In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith's update to the classic novel, the Bennets are also trained zombie-hunting ninjas.

If you can't figure out the right sun and page-turning balance, try audio books. Once the domain of potboilers and self-help nuts, iPod audio books are on iTunes in almost every genre: a random browse returned Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell Tale Heart, This American Life: The Cruelty of Children and Bend, Lick, Insert, Send, brought to you by the helpful editors at Penthouse (hey, no one will ever know).

Closer to home and much less skeezy, Rattling Books, a publisher based out of Tors Cove, Newfoundland, has a fantastic series of audio books called Ear Lits---collections of short stories from popular Newfoundland writers like Joel Thomas Hynes, Kathleen Winter and Russell Wangersky.

Fans of Rock-lit should also race out and grab a copy of Lisa Moore's wonderful new novel, February, and for those who still get lusty over physical books, turn to Gaspereau Press and their letterpress-printed jackets. Anne Simpson's The Marram Grass is perfect cottage material. In a series of essays Simpson makes connections between her poetic process and the natural life around her home in Antigonish. But if you prefer the great indoors, Annapolis Valley Tastes, by former Five Fisherman sommelier Sean Buckland, is a collection of recipes from Valley restaurants such as Tempest and the Blomidon Inn. Considering this is the only time of year that tomatoes don't taste like shit, take advantage of the summer bounty and get cooking.

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