Barrie Hardymon

Barrie Hardymon began her career studying viola at Juilliard. She has since worked as a cocktail waitress, a shop girl in a string of high-end lingerie boutiques and a cashier at New York's Strand bookstore. At the Strand, she distinguished herself by hollering "Next!" at a decibel level completely out of proportion to her size and by recommending John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman — a novel that changed her life — to patrons wandering the Self-Help section. Inexplicably, the book remains in stock. Currently, she is a associate editor at NPR's Talk of the Nation and one of the loudest voices (still) on Blog of the Nation, the show's companion blog.

The arrival of a new mystery in a beloved series is always a much anticipated occasion — what's been happening with our favorite private eye? Has an admired police captain been promoted? Has a young lady hacker survived the vicissitudes of the last volume?

The winter weather doesn't seem to be letting up — it's still cold and snowy in much of the country. For a little relief from the elements here are five ribald reads to ignite the most fiery of passions.

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My summer reading preferences are so particular they have, at times, stopped me from reading at all. I need a romance for a train trip — for obvious reasons. When it's hot, I prefer something with no climate congruence at all; I've never enjoyed Anna Karenina so much as I did on the beach (that romance is a train exception — er ... for obvious reasons). When I'm on a plane trip, I like a passel of good young-adult novels, filled with cliffhangers, reversals and quick emotion. It's a mood makeover in flight.

I know, I know. You've already started tearing through Bring Up the Bodies, pre-ordered Canada and — since you pretend to have read the first few massive volumes of his LBJ bio — uploaded Robert Caro's latest history lesson to your Kindle. Spoiler: The pres dies in the end.