This shouldn’t be mistaken for one of those “What We’re Reading” lists. Nor is it what the magazines like to do in their summer issues: Tell readers that it’s summer and for them to get to reading.

I’ve never finished a book from a “What We‘re Reading” list or that other list — the one in which writers tell us about books that changed their lives.

I will be reading for the rest of my life an Icelandic novel the size, shape and weight of a cinderblock.

The book HAS changed my life.

I figure I’ll live at least 10 extra years if I’m to finish the book.

Andre Dubus III’s “House of Sand and Fog” I raced through in three weeks. (I’m a slow reader). I knew the book would not end well, and it didn’t, but it changed my life enough that I dived into Dubus’ “Townie.”

In “Townie,” Dubus is in so many bare-knuckle brawls that I’ve taken to taping my hands before climbing into bed with the book.

The last few pages are stuck together with testosterone so I checked another Dubus novel out of the library.

It’s early in the book, but I think one of the Sept. 11 terrorists is on his way to a strip club in Florida.

Dubus is a fine writer. “Townie” may tell you more than you care to know about the Dubus family, but the book is good enough that I WILL unstick and read the last pages.

Morgan Murphy’s “Off the Beaten Path” for Southern Living — “Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes That Made Them Famous” is the sort of book you put in the glove box of your car.

On the cover, a diner enjoys an inexpensive lunch at The Flying Fish in Memphis, Tenn. You know it’s “one of those places” because there are mounted fish on the wall above the names of the people who caught them. There is an oar and a paddle on the wall and a sign that says, “Be Nice or Leave!”

The book includes recipes from LOLA in Covington, Richard’s in Abbeville, Café Beignet on Royal Street in New Orleans, Pat’s in Henderson and R & M’s Boiling Point in New Iberia.

I’ve eaten at Richard’s and can vouch for it. The book mentions The Best Stop Supermarket in Scott.

I’m planning a bicycle ride from Lafayette, leaving town on Cameron Street, to Scott where I may do as the author suggests — buy some sausage, boudin balls or beef jerky and eat in the parking lot. The supermarket’s at 615 Highway 93 North.

For you expats reading this online, Best Stop ships. Call (337) 233-5805 or go to

Whether we read with or without a bib, great moments in summer begin when the air conditioning meets us at the door of the library or bookstore.

Feature writer and columnist Ed Cullen welcomes comments by email to at or call (225) 388-0306.