Associated Press File Photo / A smiling, chatty President Jimmy Carter wasn't so smiling and chatty on the campaign trail while running against Sen. Ted Kennedy for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination, according to the book "Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party."

"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are." — Mason Cooley

For many people, the thankfully receding global pandemic may have given them the opportunity they may have long sought — the pleasure of being able to read more.

With that in mind, and with the first week of summer beckoning people to beaches, mountains and screened-in-porches for relaxation, we offer the top 10 books we have enjoyed since mid-March 2020, when the COVID-19 virus sent many people home from work — or to work from home.

* "Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party," by Jon Ward: Eminently readable saga of the 1980 Democratic nomination fight when a sitting president was challenged for his party's nomination. Though both men are now held up as saints by party faithful, neither President Jimmy Carter and Sen. Ted Kennedy come across as happy warriors in this run-up to the November election that would make Ronald Reagan the nation's 40th president.

* "Redhead by the Side of the Road," by Anne Tyler: Our favorite author of fiction's latest release, it tells the story of 40-something Micah, who is going nowhere fast but, at times, believes himself all he needs. Tyler is a master of stories of individuals alone in their own world, and sometimes alone in the world around them.

* "The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency," by Chris Whipple: Excellently sourced and fairly even-handed treatment of the chief of staffs of U.S. presidents beginning with Richard Nixon. His research and depth is most solid in the administrations of Nixon through George H.W. Bush. Released a year into the Trump administration, it lacks perspective of the men who served in that turbulent role for the most recent past president.

* "Sting Ray Afternoons," by Steve Rushin: Purely pleasurable book by a now Sports Illustrated writer about his 1970s youth in Bloomington, Minn. Mid- to late-baby boomers will relate to the television commercials he references, the vacations he and his family took, and the jobs he had. It is peppered with the backstory of many of the products and innovations of the day.

* "And Then I Met ...: Stories of Growing Up, Meeting Famous People, and Annoying the Hell Out of Them," by James Rogan: If you recognize the author's name, it's because he is a former California congressman who was one of the House managers in the impeachment trial of President Clinton. Now a judge in the Superior Court of California, he as a youth sought autographs and memorabilia from famous people, mostly politicians, and often used chutzpah to get them. Great read for someone interested in politics of the last half of the 20th century (with stories you won't read elsewhere).

* "You Suck, Sir: Chronicles of a High School Teacher and the Smartass Students Who Schooled Him," by Paul Bae: Snippets of conversation between a former Canadian teacher, then young, hip and properly sardonic, and his students, who occasionally astonished him with what came out of their mouths.

* "When the Center Held: Gerald Ford and the Rescue of the American Presidency," by Donald Rumsfeld: Not a dry, weedy biography of the 38th president as you might expect from the two-time defense secretary but a readable, warm and occasionally critical remembrance of the only man to serve who was never elected president or vice president. Concentrates on his 900-plus days in office and paints a portrait of a good and decent man who was right for the volatile days following the resignation of Richard Nixon.

* "His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope," by Jon Meacham: Biographical portion of the book, like most of those by the former Chattanooga author, is well told and chronicles the courageous, loyal and persistent hero of the civil rights era. Less convincing to us is Meacham's tagging of Lewis as a "saint" and a "modern Founding Father," especially when he acknowledges Lewis in his 30-plus year congressional career was as reliable a Democratic vote as there was.

* "Dog Days: The New York Yankees' Fall from Grace and Return to Glory, 1964-1976:" by Philip Bashe: Covers the era between the Maris/Mantle World Series teams and the Steinbrenner-era teams that dominated between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s. Update of a 1994 book, it weaves in stories of the then-down-on-their-luck New York teams and their players, with touches of what was occurring in the country.

* "The Killer's Shadow: The FBI's Hunt for a White Supremacist Serial Killer," by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker: Fascinating story of the FBI's search for racist Joseph Paul Franklin, who killed at least 13 people, seriously wounded Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Urban League President Vernon Jordan, and whose exploits also included the 1977 firebombing of Beth Shalom Synagogue in Chattanooga and a 1978 murder of a Black Chattanooga man and wounding of his white girlfriend.