There’s something great about reading in the summer. It could be the weather: There’s something indescribable about sitting in the sun with a good page-turner. It could be that hint of freedom we feel, leftover from the days when summer meant abandoning all major responsibilities (i.e. school), that allows us to read books we might otherwise pass over for more serious stuff. We don’t feel so guilty about guilty pleasures in the summer. Trashy magazines and romance novels go hand in hand with beach blankets and daiquiris, and there is just nothing wrong with that.
So, then, what to read? Well, we don’t expect you to take our advice, so we hit the streets and asked a few people who looked like they knew what they were talking about.

Annekah Brewer, Ojai

Bart’s Books
J.R.R. Tolkein, Tad Williams, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Guy Gavriel Kay.
“My favorite series is Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings — I love the mythology, I love how he’s incorporated that into the fantasy drama. It goes so deep into mythology and the history of the world. Tolkein’s the best at what he does.”

Jennifer Zide, Ventura

Main Street, downtown Ventura
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith, and any Martha Grimes mysteries
“The Eyre Affair is about a futuristic literary detective and the bad guy abducts characters from books, which changes the books — so the detective has to go in and save the characters. It’s a really great book.”

Amadeo Ramos, Wasilla, Ala.

Bank of Books,
Downtown Ventura
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, Skinny Legs and All and Villa Incognito, by Tom Robbins
“I’m kind of an unusual person in that I love books about martial arts and cooking. This summer, I plan to read as many books as possible. I like reading books about history. I read everything I can when I have the time. There are some great fiction books out there. I love Tom Robbins.”

Jesus Arroyo, Ventura

Main Street, downtown Ventura
Don Quixote, in its original Spanish, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
“I’m reading Don Quixote right now. It’s a good book. It’s about how crazy his thoughts are. He wants to have an excuse to do things that are drastic … It’s something I have wanted to read for a long time. Sometimes it’s hard to find good, quality literature. In Mexico, you can find good quality books in Spanish. Here, the kind of books that are marketed are books people think we [Spanish speakers] want to read — and that’s not true.”

Stan Coburn, Ojai

Bart’s Books
 Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain.
“I really liked it when I was a kid and I’ve read it a couple times since. Most of what I read now goes in one ear and out the other! I usually like more of the adventure, action type books. I like John Grisham.”

Bonnie Carlton, Ventura

Palermo, downtown Ventura
The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly, and The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas L. Friedman
“I love murder mysteries and the first one, The Lincoln Lawyer, is a really good murder mystery. I love books of almost any kind. I love historical books. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about China.”

Debbie Court, Ojai

Rainbow Bridge
Graceful Passages: A Companion for Comfort and Inspiration by Michael Stillwater.
“It’s a poem book with a lovely CD — it has music that was written by a famous team that writes for movies, and it’s all about dying, and it’s put together for people who are actually dying, but it’s really for everyone. It’s beautiful, soothing, lovely — a nice little book.”

Barbara Litton, Ventura

Palermo, downtown Ventura
Lilla’s Feast: One Woman’s True Story of Love and War in the Orient, by Frances Osborne
“It’s the story of a woman who lived to be over 100 years old and it’s all true. She lived around the world … she scribbled recipes on scraps of paper and her cookbook is in a museum. She had a fascinating life and it makes a wonderful story.”