Audience Participation Friday: Summer Reading

Memorial Day is upon us. Many of you, no doubt, are already working on your second or third sunburn. Hopefully we'll all have a little more time to read at the beach or beside the pool or, if you're like the guy on the right, on your pontoon boat.

For Audience Participation Friday, let's help one another build our summer reading lists. What book or two (or three) would you insist that a friend read this summer? This is largely a selfish request; I haven't thought much about my summer reading and am looking for suggestions.

There is one book that I especially want to read this summer. It is about Quanah Parker, the last and greatest Comanche chief, and his white mother, Cynthia Ann Parker. The book has the  unwieldy title of Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in History. I heard the author, S.C. Gwynne, on the radio the other day, and it's a fascinating story. Cynthia Ann was kidnapped by the Comanches when she was a young girl. When she got older, she married a chief, the father of Quanah. The whites kidnapped her back when Quanah was about nine; she never got used to living among white people and pined away for the tribe. Empire of the Summer Sun is as much history as biography, detailing, as its subtitle suggests, the rise and fall of a warlike people. According to the author, the Comanches were the reason that whites settled the West Coast was settled before they settled the middle of America: settling California wasn't the hard part; the hard part was getting through the Great Plains without getting killed by Comanches.

So, there's my recommendation (for a book I haven't read). What are yours?

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