What to read in August

We review the best of late summer fiction, from "The Lovely Bones" to a classic tale of a child bride and stories about ordinary people who go off their medication.

Published August 1, 2002 9:24PM (EDT)

Though the weather is stultifying and the holiday flights are long, you don't have to succumb to the doldrums of late summer "beach reads," those supposedly entertaining thrillers with their gimcrack plots and balsa-wood characters. What good is a page turner if you're wincing on every page?

Instead we offer you a selection of more satisfying summer reading (and do check out our recommendations from previous months, below, if you don't see something that tweaks your fancy here). There are bestsellers worth reading, as Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones" demonstrates (and yes, it is approved for those of you with a low syrup threshold), and there are exotic literary masters to be discovered, if you care to take up an offer of intrigue and old-fashioned storytelling from Indonesia's Pramoedya Ananta Toer. This is a summer of short stories as well, small gems that you can finish before nodding off in the porch swing or between naps on the sand. Last but not least, for the adventure reader, we've got the story of a boy, a boat and a Bengal tiger. Read on.

Our first pick: From heaven, a raped and murdered 14-year-old girl watches her loved ones -- and her killer -- go on with their lives

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