O's 2011 Summer Reading List

What's your favorite flavor? No matter, because we've got 'em all: refreshing histories, nutty novels, and love stories that will make you melt.


336 pages; Harper Perennial
Among the sagas of dysfunctional families and combustible marriages, Susanna Daniel's novel about a single couple over the course of a lifetime stands out due to its lovely, unexpected normalcy. When we first meet Frances Ellerby, she's a sensible young bank teller from Atlanta visiting Miami for a wedding. She hits it off with a Floridian who invites her to a stilt cottage in the middle of Biscayne Bay—a detour that will set the course for the rest of her life. In record time, she's stolen her new friend's crush, Dennis (whose family owns the cottage), and moved to this isolated otherworldly beach community in South Florida. Daniel chronicles the next 20-odd years of the couple's relationship in straightforward prose, focusing on their waxing and waning passion, their friendships and the challenges of aging gracefully. Meanwhile, the salty winds, ubiquitous sunshine and watchful alligators make the story feel like it's set in another country—one where life moves slowly enough to examine and enjoy the little things like sunlight striking "the blade between the tilting trunks of gumbo-limbo trees" or "one episode in the life of a marriage, just another wave in the windy channel. Not a hurricane at all."
— Corrie Pikul