Probably you're not even reading this right now because The Seattle Times' powerful, hard-hitting books coverage is so distracting—their biting critical stance evidenced bountifully in their recently issued summer reading recommendations. Here are the "reads" they think will "satisfy you" this summer: Protect and Defend by Richard North Patterson (whose work you probably know from standing in line at the grocery store); The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (also at a check stand near you—isn't this great? Who needs bookstores when you have Safeway?); and, for controversy, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (try to "get past the N-word," The Times' critic suggests.) The Nightstand muscled past the N-word in high school—whew! It was hard! That's a bad, bad word!--and applauds The Times for its timeliness and bravery. However, we say if you have yet to read The Sun Also Rises or Everything Is Illuminated or anything by Robert Musil—that's your new summer reading list. . . . Now that Oprah's dropped her really Ya-Ya book club, hundreds of thousands of mall- going Middle Americans have nothing to read (except, of course, The Seattle Times). (Of further parenthetical note: Anything related to redemption, female empowerment, or how-Oprah-changed-my-life-slash-waistline fatuousness will henceforth be referred to in the Nightstand as, to coin a phrase, "really Ya-Ya.") Kelly Ripa (of Live with Regis and Kelly renown) has already leveraged the apparent authority of daytime by endorsing If Looks Could Kill (about a woman who has gotten, according to the first sentence, "plenty of what other women wanted: like their fabulous jobs and their hot-looking husbands"). John Grisham went on Today not long ago to tell the world that he recommends—because we've all been dying to know—Stephen Carter's The Emperor of Ocean Park (which—coincidence?—is
a Seattle Times pick, and which the Nightstand will rip apart shortly). And Good Morning America, god bless the underdog, they've invited themselves to the party, too: Their current selection is Ann Packer's The Dive from Clausen's Pier, about a woman whose fianc頢dives into too-shallow water and becomes paralyzed," per The Wall Street Journal. Per the Nightstand, it's Ya-Ya up the yin yang. . . . Back to The Emperor of Ocean Park, of which this newspaper has received at least three advance copies—presumably The Emperor's new publicists believe the more copies we have, the more likely we are to run a review. Lucky they are that we're not, because if we were, here's what it would say: (1) A thriller! With black people! How innovative!; and (2) John Grisham recommends this book.