Is there anything more summer-eal than the small town? Whether it's the parades or the community pools or the pleasant gossip or the baseball, small towns and summer are just it.
So I was thinking about some better books about small towns, or really, for those who live in them:
The first one that came to my mind!: Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner (Penguin Classics, $13.60, 656 pgs): Sure it's about the West, and America, and always striving to make it, but so much of what goes on in this novel is either set up or backdropped by a small town and its dynamic, it's just beautiful. But that's for later. The novel, in short, is the story of a family's ups and downs as it fluxes through American (and Canadian) life searching for money, happiness and stability. Throughout this journey, its leader, the hardly house-broken hard-head Bo Mason, plants and uproots his family in no less than 15 states and 50 houses, tasting a little of this life and a little of that along the way. Of course, small towns dominate this series of emigrations, and tell us over and over again how splendid they are.