Best Books For Summer 2007

Before you hit the beach this summer, don't forget to hit the bookstore.

John Searles, books editor of Cosmopolitan magazine (www.cosmopolitan.com) and author of the best-selling novel "Strange But True," visited The Early Show Friday to share his picks for the best the book world has to offer this season. He says there's something for everyone, from trashy beach novels, to mysteries to an amazing family travelogue.

Searles offered his thoughts on some of the best summer reading:

"A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS," by Khaled Hosseini

This is the book everyone is reading this summer. Whether you're at the beach or pool, it'll be the book in everyone's hands. This moving story of friendship set against the backdrop of struggle in Afghanistan is the highly anticipated follow-up to "The Kite Runner" and does not disappoint.

"THE LAST SUMMER (OF YOU AND ME)," by Ann Brashares

Brashares is best-known for her young adult novels, but she successfully appeals to a whole new audience with this book. It's a beautifully written page-turner.

"SHEER ABANDON," by Penny Vincenzi

Growing up, I used to tear through my mother's Jackie Collins and Sidney Sheldon books. This fills that same need. It's a little trashy and over the top, but still entirely gripping.

"PEONY IN LOVE," by Lisa See

This is a beautifully written book; it's almost lyrical. If anyone wants to be transported from their everyday life, this book will get the job done. It absolutely takes the reader into a whole other world.

"ON CHESIL BEACH," by Ian McEwan

This book is getting rave reviews. The opening scene is great. It's set in the '60s and centers on two virgins on their wedding night. It provides a glimpse at their inner thoughts and worries about that evening, and the future. It's a short book and a quick read, but keeps you riveted the entire time.

"THE RIVER QUEEN," by Mary Morris

Mary Morris is a favorite of mine; I love her novels. This book is about her trip down the Mississippi River, as she learns to cope with both the death of her father and her daughter going away to college. Any woman who has dealt with similar emotions will see herself in the pages of this book.

"THE HOUSE OF MONDAVI: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN WINE DYNASTY," by Julia Flynn Siler

This author, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, really did her research. The book is non-fiction, but it reads like an epic novel. Wine enthusiasts and anyone who likes to get a sneak peek into the lives of the rich and glamorous will love this book.

"END IN TEARS," by Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell has legions of dedicated fans (including Cosmo Editor Kate White!). This is another great installment in the Wexford series. Both new readers and longtime fans will really enjoy it.