Summer Reading Guide: Quick, indulgent beach reads

"The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls"
“The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls” by Anton DiSclafani.

Whether you’re spending your August lazing at the beach or, like the rest of us, trying to find the best space on the couch to fully enjoy the air conditioner, a book is the perfect accompaniment. We’ve taken the liberty of choosing a few books for the dog days of August – pick one of these to keep you company this month.

For a brisk, indulgent read:

The cover of “The Widow Waltz” by Sally Koslow screams beach read: a woman’s legs and a dog’s haunches on the sand, staring at the surf. But the book is a different twist on the typical female-takes-on-the-world-in-heels story. Georgia Waltz’s beloved husband, Ben, drops dead while jogging in Central Park, and their lavish life drips away as she discovers Ben mysteriously left them penniless. While she investigates where the money went, she also must support herself and their two daughters, finding newfound resilience away from the tony lifestyle they’ve always known.

“The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls,” a debut novel by Anton DiSclafani, takes place in 1930, on the cusp of the Great Depression. After a mysterious but disastrous family scandal, teenager Thea has been sent away to a North Carolina camp. The equestrienne boarding school is filled only with teen girls, some whose families’ affluent fortunes are crumbling, some experiencing love and lust for the first time, some finding where they might fit in a changing society. Thea confronts all of these questions as the plot unravels to reveal why she was exiled.

Sometimes Brooklyn’s “it” book of the summer means a dry, uninteresting tome that the literary astute slog through for the sole reason of being able to brag that they got through it. But “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.” is a different kind of “it” book. Adelle Waldman’s debut is a savvy, infinitely readable look into the inner workings of Nate P. — a 30-something overeducated, slightly narcissistic New Yorker who hops from one smart, savvy woman to the next while happily sitting on his first book advance. “Contrary to what these women seemed to think, he was not indifferent to their happiness. And yet he seemed, in spite of himself, to provoke it,” writes Waldman of Nate. Even if dissecting the nuances of the Brooklyn literati scene might not be your thing, pick up “The Love Affairs” for Waldman’s astute look at the inner workings of Nate’s relationship to women. It is a thing of infuriating beauty. Dorothy Robinson

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison


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