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Beach reads

It’s one of our culture’s most cherished beliefs that since people don’t want to think too hard or get too bummed out in the sunshine, mass-market commercial fiction will hold sway in the summertime. So as we leave spring behind, Slate is right on time with “Pulp Fiction week,” which includes stories about true crime, the history of pulp, and the work of Donald Westlake and Patricia Highsmith. (It would be nice to see some discussion of how the pulp form has basically migrated to TV with CSI & Order and the like, but perhaps that’s still to come.)

Slate also does the obligatory summer reading poll, asking a number of authors about their favourite “beach reads.” Canadian author Lori Lansens, for example, picks Anita Shreve’s All He Ever Wanted, while Rick Moody goes for the Motley Crue autobiography, The Dirt. At the other end of the scale, Francine Prose recommends Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty, while Random House bigwig Daniel Menaker has on his agenda Daniel M. Wegner’s The Illusion of Conscious Will. “It’s a brilliant dismantling of the idea that conscious mental decisions cause physical actions – which I have been trying to finish for four months now.”

Related links:
Click here for the Slate article about authors’ summer reading choices
Click here for a listing of other articles in Slate’s Pulp Fiction week