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Summer Reads for Former Recess Rebels

Face it: Summer's not for everyone.

Remember recess? Summer's a lot like recess. Most kids I knew couldn't wait to get out and start jumping ropes and dodging balls in the blazing sun. But there were those of us (unathletic types mostly, pale of skin and soft of belly) who'd gaze out through the classroom windows just before noon, scanning the horizon for thunderclouds.

Because indoor recess — say it soft and it's almost like praying — meant sitting quietly at your desk and reading. There was none of the pressure, implicit from teachers and explicit from classmates, to leap, climb or hurl projectiles.

Kids like us, as you might expect, grew up to resent summer and all it entails, because it's basically outdoor recess. For three months. And my people, we own no shirts boasting wicking technology; we do not, as a general rule, jet-ski. Our adult interests are those best pursued in the cool, dark places of the world: We are film dorks, comic-book geeks, fantasy-lit fans, indie-music nerds.

So when summer comes, we leave the frothy beach books to those who frequent the frothy beach, seeking out spikier, more esoteric pleasures instead. Our summer books are books you can sink your teeth into — and that sometimes bite back.

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Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.