Presidential beach books

The first reader lightens up.

By Laura Miller

Published May 28, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

With a NATO-led bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, a scandal about Chinese espionage in the United States and a lackluster early campaign by his vice president and designated successor, Al Gore, President Clinton has a lot to escape from as he vacations in a wildlife preserve in Yulee, Fla., this week. So what beach books has he chosen to take with him? The Associated Press reports that Clinton packed a bag full of light reading for the trip, including Carl Hiaasen's "Lucky You" and Robert B. Parker's "Sudden Mischief."

Hiaasen is, appropriately enough, a South Florida writer, and "Lucky You" is the story of a veterinary assistant who wins the lottery and wants to use part of her $14 million prize to save endangered turtles, if she can keep it away from a pair of white supremacist psychopaths who are trying to steal it. The Parker book is the 25th in his Spenser series of detective novels. In a piquant parallel to the president's own life, the sleuth is asked to investigate sexual harassment charges against the ex-husband of his longtime girlfriend, and the accusations turn out to be insubstantial. However, Spenser eventually discovers that the ex is mixed up in much uglier criminal activities, a development that will no doubt squelch any inclination the First Reader might have to identify with the character.

Laura Miller

Laura Miller is the author of "The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia."

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