Decades ago, some dolt at a publishing company decided that summer should be the time for light reading, and for some inexplicable reason, the whole industry went along with this notion. Seriousness—you know, books that matter—was suspended from June until Labor Day. So it has been, so it will be. The problem with this situation is that publishers also seemed to have confused light reading with trivial, forgettable fluff.
It does not have to be that way. Entertaining does not have to be synonymous with trash. All the books on this list say otherwise. Some are serious, some are funny, some will keep you up all night, and all of them are the sort—you have been warned—that if you loan them out, you will never see them again. Is there a better test of a book’s durability?
Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier—Even when you know how it ends, it’s suspenseful. That’s how good Du Maurier is. Her story of the second Mrs. de Winter is so skillfully told that you never think about the skill until the story’s over. It’s tempting to call this a small masterpiece, except there’s nothing small about it. As far as we know, the only people who don’t revere it are the people who haven’t read it.