The Summer Paperback Book Sense 76 Top Ten

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Here are the Top Ten titles in the latest Summer Paperback Book Sense 76, which features a wonderful selection of great reading for the summer months. Watch next week for the full list of titles.

Please send your nominations for the Book Sense 76 to Dan Cullen at [email protected]. Some upcoming deadlines:

June 16 -- Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Sense Top Ten 76
July 11 -- Fall Children's Book Sense 76
July 11 -- University Press/Scholarly Top Ten 76
July 11 -- Small Press Top Ten 76
July 25 -- September/October Book Sense 76

And, as always, thank you so much for all you do to contribute to the success of the 76!

1. EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED: A Novel, by Jonathan Safran Foer (Perennial, $13.95, 0060529709) "If you missed this exceptional novel in hardcover last year, you missed one of the most satisfying books published in recent years. An unforgettable novel that is sure to stand the test of time." -- Holly Van Lyssel, Beaucoup Books, New Orleans, LA
2. THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER: A Novel, by Ann Packer (Vintage, $14, 0375727132) "Packer’s first novel is the beautifully told story of Carrie Bell. When her boyfriend breaks his neck and is paralyzed, she is faced with having to decide what it is she owes to those she loves. The writing is wonderful, not the least bit sentimental, and the people in the book are at once distinctive and familiar. At the book’s close I felt an unexpected satisfaction and pleasure with the heroine’s decisions."--Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL
3. LIFE OF PI: A Novel, by Yann Martel (Harvest, $14, 0156027321) "Martel weaves a brilliant tale that is part adventure story and part spiritual quest. The part of the book that relates how Pi becomes a practicing Hindu/Moslem/Christian is worth the price of the book, and the portion that deals with Pi and a Bengal tiger adrift on the ocean in a lifeboat together is everything you might imagine and more." --Stephen Grutzmacher, Passtimes Books, Sister Bay, WI A 2003 Book Sense Book of the Year Fiction Finalist
4. RUNNING WITH SCISSORS: A Memoir, by Augusten Burroughs (Picador, $14, 031242227X) "This book is like a hybrid offspring of the writings of Derrick Jensen and David Sedaris, as the author’s story is both insightful and humorous. Anyone who reads this book will have a greater understanding and respect for those who had difficult or unusual circumstances or challenges in their youth. I highly recommend this book." --Lin Orndorf, Malaprop's Bookstore and Café, Asheville, NC A 2003 Book Sense Book of the Year Nonfiction Finalist
5. THE SOLACE OF LEAVING EARLY: A Novel, by Haven Kimmel (Anchor, $13, 1400033349) "This novel is terrific. I love these characters for having absorbed literature and philosophy, and then remembering it as they tried to make sense of their lives and others. Flawed as they were, so many of the characters were so good and lovable. I'll be handselling this book starting the minute it comes in." --Diane Leslie, Dutton’s Brentwood Bookstore, CA
6. THE EMPEROR OF OCEAN PARK: A Novel, by Stephen L. Carter (Vintage, $14, 0375712925) "This fantastic literary mystery is the perfect substitute for War and Peace this summer. At 650 pages, it is well worth the time and energy. The main character's challenge to solve the puzzle left behind by his dead father keeps the pages turning, and the descriptions of the characters and their complicated relationships are fascinating." --Terry Lucas, The Open Book, Westhampton Beach, NY
7. DREAMING WATER: A Novel, by Gail Tsukiyama (Griffin, $12.95, 0312316089) "I loved Tsukiyama's previous books, and although Dreaming Water is very different in content -- taking place in the U.S. -- it features the same sensitive portrayal of women's relationships." --Jean Martin, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cleveland, OH
8. INTO THE FOREST: A Novel, by Edna O’Brien (Mariner, $13, 0618339655) "A disturbing look into the tortured soul of a man who is haunted by his past. Those haunts drive him deeper into an inner evil that he cannot release himself from. You are drawn into this book until the very last page." --Joy Winslow, Danner’s Books, Muncie, IN
9. PRAGUE: A Novel, by Arthur Phillips (Random House, $13.95, 0375759778) "The setting is Budapest in the ’90s, when locals thought far more was happening in Prague. The bars and cafes salute the Jazz Age, catering to a generation in search of riches, the past, and a culture to call their own, but not ready to face the truth. I loved this book." --Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT
10. MUST LOVE DOGS: A Novel, by Claire Cook (Onyx Books, $6.99, 0451410947) "This book has one of the funniest first chapters I've ever read, and the hilarity mounts from there. A recently divorced preschool teacher is reentering the dating scene at the behest of her large, Irish-Catholic family, who try to set her up with someone... anyone. Zany, colorful characters and a plot with a Murphy's Law kind of inevitability make this a great, fun read." -- Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI