The fabled merriness of May makes it the perfect month in which to turn to the lighter side of fiction. In the case of the authors of the four books we've selected this time around, that means visiting the absurdities and delights (as well as the absurd delights) of romantic love and family relations, as well as exploring the quirky side of history. One of the novels here even contains an extended meditation on the nature and value of light fiction. Only a writer would stop to wonder about that. As readers, we know that at this time of year, the best alternative to picking flowers and flirting is a book that celebrates the breezy pleasures of both.
Our first pick: The final novel by Pulitzer-winner Carol Shields