Oh, thank God. It’s summer reading time.
I mean, reading curled up in a cozy chair is nice and all, but after a 94-day January, nothing compares to reading on a hot beach. Or hot poolside. Or on a sunny deck … I guess the key here is just someplace hot.
No matter where you bring your books, or what type of books you like, I’ve got new 2018 releases for everyone here. Let’s dive in.
“A Long Way From Home,” by Peter Carey
The latest novel from the brilliant two-time Booker Prize winner Carey is such a fantastic plot and premise, and dryly funny, you'll read in a few beach trips. According to the publisher’s synopsis:
Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in southeastern Australia. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky, fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher. Soon, their off their known grid and in an Australia they don’t know…
A fun, stylish romp, with food for thought.
“The Female Persuasion," by Meg Wolitzer
This one has been getting lots of buzz and for good reason. Wolitzer is a gem. Her output is pretty prolific — if you’ve never read her 2013 best-seller “The Interestings,” add that to your list.
“Persuasion” is Wolitzer all over: that is to say, unputdownably fun story, meaty matter. Essentially, it’s the ultimate story of every 18-year-old: believing you are meant for more. Destiny is calling. Set in a Connecticut college in the mid-aughts, I was pulled right in, immediately laughing at the kids’ dialogue, which rings so true. According to the publisher’s synopsis:
Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman, madly in love with her boyfriend, when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, 63, has been an influential pillar in he women's movement for decades. After hearing Faith speak, Greer feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer down a life-changing path.
“Circe,“ by Madeline Miller
It’s finally here.
Miller fans have been waiting for “Circe” since her New York Times best-selling “The Song of Achilles” — and if you haven’t read that, add to your beach bag.
This is Circe read for the #MeToo era — a powerful woman in a man’s world, and her story is tremendous.
To the god of the sun, a daughter is born: But Circe is a strange child — not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. But she soon discovers she has the power of witchcraft: she can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves, as the publisher’s synopsis tells us.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology.
Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians...
“The Woman in the Window,” by A. J. Finn.
One the best books I’ve read so far this year.
I call this a 24-hour book, because that’s how long it took me to read it.
Think “The Girl on the Train” meets Alfred Hitchcock.
This is set for a Hollywood adaptation—read it first.
I can’t say too much without giving anything away, but suffice to say … Anna Fox is something of a recluse. Agoraphobic, actually. She spends her day drinking wine, watching movies — and spying on her neighbors.
When a new family moves in next door, Anna sees something she shouldn’t, and her world begins to crumble … But what is real? What is imagined?
Seriously, just writing about this now makes me want to go back and read it. You can’t see what’s coming.
“The Immortalists,” by Chloe Benjamin
This New York Times best-seller reminded me of Wes Anderson’s “Royal Tennenbaums” meets “Moonrise Kingdom” at the start, in that it involved a family of precious children up for adventure.
From the publisher’s synopsis:
New York City, 1969. When Simon Gold hears of the arrival of a mystic, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die, he convinces his siblings they need to sneak out and hear their fortunes. The prophecies inform their next five decades of the lives…
“War Storm,” by Victoria Aveyard
Omigod omigod omigod. For fellow YA fans—and fellow Aveyard fans—we have the fourth installment of the New York Times No. 1 best-selling “Red Queen Series” (!!)
This series is so unbelievably fun, if you start reading it at the beach, you’ll be sunburned, hours later, before you realize what day or time it is. Utterly absorbing. Think “Game of Thrones” meets “Hunger Games.” If you’re not familiar with the series, start with book 1, as you do need to go in chronological order.
“Look Alive Out There,” by Sloan Crosley
A younger, female David Sedaris.
I’ve been a fan of Crosley’s since her hilarious 2008 essay collection “I Was Told There’d Be Cake.”
Crosley has absolutely learned at the feet of Sedaris and honed her own dry wit and perfectly crafted one-liners to talk about everything from crashing shivas to befriending swingers and anything in between.
If you like to laugh, read anything by Crosley.
“Feel Free,” by Zadie Smith
Speaking of awesome essay collections, “Feel Free” is award-winning novelist Smith’s first stab at an essay collection.
If you’ve never read Smith’s New York Times best-selling novels “White Teeth,” “Swing Time,” or “NW,” add all those to your bag. (You’re bag is getting heavy.)
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Crosley, Smith’s essays here pose large questions, essentially, about current culture, from Brexit to Facebook, and the way we live it. She muses on cultural philosophy, examining modern life in essays like “Generation Why?” And “The House that Hova Built,” “Meet Justin Bieber!” And (aptly) “Find Your Beach.”
“Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found Hardcover,” by Gilbert King
True crime fans, look no further. Pulitzer Prize winner King is known for diving deep into never-before-told gripping true stories, and that’s just what he serves up here.
This reads like Netflix documentary series. Get the popcorn ready. (Just watch out for seagulls.) According to the publisher’s synopsis:
In 1957, the wife of a Florida citrus baron is raped in her home while her husband is away. She claims a ‘husky Negro’ did it, and the sheriff rounds up a herd of suspects. But within days, law enforcement turns their sights on a gentle, mentally impaired white teen. Soon Jesse is railroaded up to the state hospital for the insane, and locked away without trial. Meanwhile, a crusading journalist cannot stop fretting over the case and its baffling outcome. Who was protecting whom, or what? She pursues the story for years, chasing down leads, hitting dead ends, winning unlikely allies. Bit by bit, the unspeakable truths behind a conspiracy that shocked a community into silence begin to surface.
Like I said. A Netflix series.
“The Great Alone,” by Kristin Hannah
Another 24-hour book.
If you loved Hannah’s New York Times No. 1 best-seller “The Nightingale,” a stunner of a World War II drama, read this. (And if not, add to increasingly heavy beach bag.)
This is what Hannah does best — a sweeping period drama, but a new period, and a totally new drama.
Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright, a Vietnam POW, comes home a changed man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family to Alaska, where they will live off the grid.
Leni, 13 and desperate to belong, dares to hope a new land will lead to a better future. And at first, the wilderness does seem a refuge. But as Ernt’s mental state deteriorates, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.
Lauren Daley is a freelance writer and BookLovers columnist. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her at https://www.facebook.com/daley.writer She tweets @laurendaley1.