Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg isn't so much a novel, but a series of vignettes set in Elmwood Springs, Missouri. You may recognize some of the characters from Fannie Flagg's other books. Dorothy's house is busier than Grand Central Station with comings and goings and her Neighbor Dorothy radio program brings even stranger characters into her parlor. And there's always something that the residents of Elmwood Springs have to deal with whether it's a bad hair style at Tot's beauty salon or young Bobby trying to overcome his fear of heights by tying red balloons on top of the water tower! The story begins in the 1940s, at the end of WWII, and continues up until the 90s. This would be a great summer read as it's easy to pick up and just read a chapter or two without getting lost in a plot.
For those reading in a book club, reader's guide here