It’s summer, book it

I just finished “The Defense” by Steve Cavanagh. (No, there’s no ‘u’ in his name. Although I keep insisting on putting one in.)
And when I say “just finished it,” I mean five minutes ago. Had to get it out of the way before sitting down this morning to write.
Good read. Not the best book I ever opened, but certainly not the worst. I found it smooth and easy and exciting enough to keep me turning the pages. What more could I ask for?
It’s Cavanagh’s first effort, too. His debut novel. It’s a courtroom thriller, the kind made popular by John Grisham and Scott Turow, and has an interesting main character who has a future in Cavanaugh follow-ups for sure.
Plus his name is Eddie. The main character, I mean. Eddie Flynn. You’ll like him.
For what it’s worth, and in Pittston it’s worth a lot, Cavanagh hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“The Defense” and yet another Civil War book, this one called simply “The Civil War,” were racing to a finish line in my world. “The Civil War” got there first, but only by a day. It came into my life unexpectedly. I made a pledge to WVIA in order to acquire the remastered DVDs of Ken Burns’ documentary “The Civil War” and with them came a book which was the complete text of the narrative. I devoured it.
I did take a break from each of them, though, to read “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking” by Chris Anderson, who’s billed as “The Head of TED.” If you are familiar with TED Talks (if not, look for them on You Tube) there is little I have to tell you about how entertaining and informative this book is.
These three books entered my life on the heals of, speaking of page turners, two Don Winslow novels, “The Power of the Dog” and “The Cartel,” and “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. Spielberg has the movie rights to that last one. You’ll be hearing much about it in a year or so.
But this whole thing has nothing to do with books.
It has to do with summer.
And books.
Summer is for reading. How I wish I discovered that earlier in life.
When I was in high school, history teacher Hank Walker told us the surest way to impress a girl on the beach was not with your muscles but with your brains. “Have a pretty girl spot a copy of ‘War and Peace’ on your beach towel,” he said, “and she’ll be yours.”
We didn’t believe him.
We also had trouble, most of us anyway, buying into those “Summer Reading Lists” our teachers would give us.
Read?
During summer vacation?
Now, that’s primarily what summer means to me.
Up next is something called “Late to the Ball,” in which Gerald Marzorati writes about the benefits of taking up tennis in his 60s.
And sitting on my desk is a copy of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” that I bought for a friend but I may re-read before giving it to him. Don’t let the subject matter throw you, this is considered by many one of the most beautifully written books ever. From the jacket: “Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, and that is, ecstatically.” That’s John Updike talking.
There’ll be a few other books throughout the next two months all aiming toward July 31 and the release of the next Harry Potter. Followed closely by something brand new: “The Accidental Life: An Editor’s Notes on Writing and Writers.” That comes out August 2. I have it ordered.
Yep, it’s gonna be a good summer.

Ed Ackerman