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Getting Ripped for Summer Reading: My Summer Shape-Up Plan

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Where I live in the Northeast summer has finally arrived, hot and humid and sunny. For months, people have been gearing up for the summer season by working out, putting in extra sessions at the gym or on the treadmill to get their body ripped and ready for beach or pool. I have been busy getting myself ready -- and ripped -- for summer reading. I've vanquished the flab in my bookshelves (impulse buys I never read have been sent off to the library book sale), oiled the joints on my bifocal sunglasses, and bulked up the piles of new reading material. Most importantly, I have committed myself to reading on a planned schedule of maximum mind-blowing routines.

I will mix up my daily sessions, going from heart-pumping (cardio!) workouts of crime thrillers and mystery chillers -- SJ Bolton's newest thriller, Now You See Me, just came out -- to stretching and contemplative sessions centered on books such as Edmund de Waal's The Hare with Amber Eyes and Sigrid Nunez's memoir of Susan Sontag, Sempre Susan. There will the sweaty but invigorating workouts provided by my book tour, wherein I will be reading aloud from my book, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, and some serious heavy-lifting in the reading (not aloud) of Harold Bloom's latest, The Anatomy of Influence, and Toby Wilkinson's history, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. I won't forget to cool down after my intense workouts, and first choice for being cool are the noir short story collections published by Akashic Books; Cape Cod Noir and Pittsburgh Noir are coming out just in time.

Some exercise gurus recommend a day of rest, but I am no wimp. Every day will be a workout (READING!) day for me this summer. You'll know who I am, the one on the beach with the square of white on my belly where I rest my book and the glow of satisfaction on my face. There is nothing like the feel of a comfy beach chair, the smell of Coppertone on warm skin, the taste of an iced wine spritzer, and the reading of a great book, to make summer dreams come true.

I invite everyone to join me in my quest for ripped-reading. After all, a well-read body is the hottest body of all.