Somewhere around the fifth grade, we spent an entire summer reading the Three Investigators series. We’ve been devoted summer readers ever since, exultantly idling away afternoons that would have been more productively spent at part-time jobs, Boy Scouting, volunteer service, or just about anything else. The more formulaic the entertainment, the greater our enjoyment. Mysteries, thrillers, sci fi, spy novels, even the occasional romance—as long as it’s accompanied by a spot of shade and a pitcher of ice water, we’ll happily devour it.

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