Beirut, Lebanon - [Pick: Murder on the Leviathan by Boris Akunin] I'm not going to go to the trouble of answering this post with just one book to recommend. The situation cries out for at least two. Though this has hardly has been a beach party type of summer in Beirut, if caught in a war you'll find that the same standards of mindless entertainment apply.
As the firing started, I picked up Boris Akunin's Murder on the Leviathan, with the detective, Erast Fandorin, leading the hunt in a vaguely maritime version of Murder on the Orient Express. Great fun, if sometimes too baroquely complex.
But if I had to recommend the mother of all summer books, blending humor and drama, fantastic prose and all the other qualities publishers will splash across a cover, I would recommend Evelyn Waugh's The Sword of Honor Trilogy (Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen, and Unconditional Surrender). Probably the best opening pages I've ever read followed by a dark middle, and a compassionate equilibrium returning at the end.
Before you accuse me of throwing out three books instead of one, it comes in a single edition.
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