Summertime and the living is easy, especially for me with my leg (still) in a cast.

Family and friends wait on me hand (and mostly) foot. Grandchildren decorate my cast. Perfect strangers kindly hold doors for me.

Crutching around has built muscles in places I didn't know I had muscles. All in all, I'm useless but cheerful.

Nothing is worth doing unless it's worth overdoing. I've been overdoing reading, and enjoying every minute of it.

"Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese is one of my Top 10 favorite books of all time. The characters are people the reader comes to care for deeply. The historical and geographical settings are fascinating. The story is believable and mesmerizing.

"Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers is the true story of one family's experience before, during and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In harrowing detail, it illustrates the old adage, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Some stories make me proud to be an American. This one made me cringe. If you've ever wondered how your tax dollars are spent in an emergency, read this book.

"Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home" by Rhoda Janzen is a delight from start to finish. Some of the book is laugh-out-loud funny.

Some of the book is a thoughtful, insightful discourse on family, forgiveness and religion.

"Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay is the story of one Jewish girl's traumatic experiences in Nazi-occupied France, and the contemporary woman who researched her life and traced her path after the war. The springboard is a little-known historical event that took place in Paris. It's a riveting, thought-provoking book.

"Little Bee" by Chris Cleave is a terrific book with a horrific ending. It shines light on one of the many faces of immigration, and makes the issue simply and intensely personal in the midst of the vast, global complexity.

"Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain is a book I've been meaning to read for years. As my friends promised, it is hilarious. For me, it was also off-putting. Although it made me appreciate various varieties of culinary brilliance I'd never considered, it also made me think twice about ever wanting to eat in a restaurant. I think Bourdain is saying, "You don't have to be crazy to work in a restaurant, but it sure does help."

I read "The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake because I heard a chapter of it being read on NPR's Radio Reader and it sounded interesting. It's good, but not as good as "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."

Although mysteries aren't my first choice, a friend gave me "One Good Turn" by Kate Achison. I couldn't stop reading until I finished it.

I'm writing about these books in the order in which I recommend them. I also recommend not breaking any bones to allow time for reading them.

Contact Fran Hawk at