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GOOD Books for Summer: Five Not-Too-Trashy Beach Reads GOOD Books for the Beach: Fun and Smart Summer Reads

From sex on the moon to globe-trotting fashion editors to robot revolutions, this week's GOOD Books have oceanside appeal but won't dumb you down.

GOOD Books is a weekly round-up of what we're reading and what we wish we were reading.

It's one of the greatest joys of summer to unwind on the beach with a fun, easy read. That said, none of us wants to waste our time on something too trashy. Here are a few beach reads that will still inspire you and make you think as the pages fly by.


Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History
By Ben Mezrich
304 Pages. Knopf Doubleday. $26.95

Read instead of: Anything by Stieg Larsson

While it's hard to find a character as thrilling as Larsson's Lisbeth Salander, the real life NASA-intern-turned-mineral-thief Thad Roberts comes close. A professed adrenaline addict, Roberts executed one of the most daring and unusual heists in recent decades when he stole 17 pounds of moon rocks from the Johnson Space Center in Houston to give to his girlfriend. Ever the romantic, he spread the moon rocks across his bed like rose petals for an extra special evening (hence the book's title). Yet the happy ending was short-lived; Roberts and his accomplices were caught by the police and spent years in prison. He later spilled the details of his story to Ben Mezrich, who also wrote The Accidental Billionaires, the book from which The Social Network was adapted.

Robopocalypse
By Daniel Wilson
352 Pages. Knopf Doubleday. $25.95

Read instead of: Twilight

Robot books are the new vampire books. Sure, vampires like Twilight's Edward Cullen have always evoked passion and danger, and it's hard to imbue clunky pieces of man-shaped metal with the same sex appeal. But Wilson comes close with Robopocalypse. The story's antagonist, a rogue robot named Archo, sports boyish good looks and mild manners, that is, until he unleashes a virus that turns the underclass of robot slaves against their human masters. What ensues is all-out war between man and machine, and while it sounds cliché, author Daniel Wilson knows his stuff: He earned a doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon and wrote the popular novelty book How to Survive a Robot Uprising. Fans include Steven Spielberg, who plans to turn it into a film in 2013.

D.V.
By Diana Vreeland
216 pages. Da Capo Press. $17.00

Read instead of: Eat, Pray, Love

Sure, Elizabeth Gilbert's prose brings her introspective journey across the globe to life. But before there was Gilbert, there was another lady journalist who whisked readers aroud the world with her memoirs, defining fabulosity for generations to come. Diana Vreeland, or D.V., ruled the fashion world for 50 years during her career as fashion editor at Haper's Bazaar and editor-in-chief at Vogue. She was famous for her bold aesthetic and for saying things like "I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity," waxing poetic about everything from Balenciaga to plastic flamingos and blending fact and fiction in her personal stories. Vreeland's life is an incredible story of risk-taking and success, which perhaps can be attributed to one of her maxims, as recorded in D.V.: "There's only one thing in life, and that's the continual renewal of inspiration."

My Korean Deli: Risking It All For A Convenience Store
By Ben Ryder Howe
320 pages. Henry Holt and Co. $25.00

Read instead of: True Prep

In a new memoir, misplaced prep and editor at The Paris Review Ben Ryder Howe recounts a series of strange decisions. First he and his wife, a corporate lawyer, move into the basement of his in-laws' house. Then he decides to help his Korean mother-in-law purchase and run a deli in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. Editing a literary magazine by day and selling lottery tickets by night, Howe gains a new perspective on the sometimes mundane, sometimes thrilling world of managing one of the ubiquitous bodegas of New York City.

Articles

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Politics
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

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Culture
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Politics

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

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via ICE / Flickr

The Connors family, two coupes from the United Kingdom, one with a three-month old baby and the other with twin two-year-olds, were on vacation in Canada when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned their holiday into a 12-plus day-long nightmare.

On October 3, the family was driving near the U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia when an animal veered into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour.

The family accidentally crossed into the United States where they were detained by ICE officials in what would become "the scariest experience of our lives," according to a complaint filed with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

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Travel