My favorite summer pastime is laying on a beach/dock/boat/hammock and reading a good book for an afternoon. That's pretty much my goal for this upcoming weekend. Lately I've been into short stories, Alice Munro in particular.
A really good short story will fully captivate you, immediately suck you into the moment. Sometimes it takes a chapter (or seven) to fully get into a novel. Short stories don't have the luxury of extra pages, they either grab you right away, or they don't.
Here's a list of some of my favorite compilations...I'm including Amazon links so you can read descriptions and reviews and of course purchase online if that's your thing, but since these are all older, I bet you could easily pick these up at a used bookstore.
JD Salinger's Nine Stories and well, all of the rest of his short stories. My favorite from the collection is "For Esme -With Love and Squalor". Wes Anderson credits the Glass family, which appear in many of Salinger's stories, as part of the inspiration for The Royal Tenenbaums.
Alice Munro's Dear Life I can't quite explain why I like Alice Munro as much as I do, it's like she writes what you know people are really thinking, the things that they're afraid to admit even to themselves and her characters are so very real in that way.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Basil and Josephine Stories These were quite possibly the first short stories I ever read. WAY back in middle school. The 1920's have always fascinated me. This collection is also great in that it follows two characters as they grow up, so it also reads a bit like a novel.
Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies Lahiri is also one of Mindy Kaling's favorite authors and the namesake for Mindy Lahiri, on the Mindy Project, so you know she has to be good!
Also, you can give some stories a try w/o committing to a full book of them. Here are a few available for free from The New Yorker...perfect if you find yourself with your iPhone and a little free time.
Alice Munro's "Admudsen"
Zadie Smith's "The Embassy of Cambodia"
Haruki Murakami's "Town of Cats"
Lorrie Moore "Referential"