No matter what genre you prefer, author you favor, or subject you want to immerse yourself in, summertime provides a near guarantee that youll find something to please your reading palate. Seasoned readers have been compiling their summertime wish list for some time now, based largely on anticipated new releases, and those choices are probably many and varied. Heres a few of mine for the next few months, and I look forward to bringing you reviews of them in upcoming editions of Express.
Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
After surviving James Freys powerful and harrowing “A Million Little Pieces,“ I thought it might be a while before I delved into an addiction saga again, but the buzz (no pun intended) for Burroughs latest has been so strong, that it looks like it shouldnt be ignored. Burroughs is the author of the bestseller “Running With Scissors,“ and in this latest chronicle of his endlessly fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking life, he explains how he tried to “out-drink his memories, outlast his demons, and outrun his past.“ As an advertising executive in Manhattan, he becomes way-too-fond of drinking, and after landing in rehab (“where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers“), he has to return to his same drunken lifestyle, but do it dry. In this authors hands, it promises to be quite a journey.
The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
A “Sex in the City“-styled tome that features six complicated Latina woman who are approaching 30, this debut novel from Valdes-Rodriguez follows in the footsteps of novels like “Bridget Jones Diary,“ meaning its a sure-fire hit among women of all ages. The story centers around the las sucias who have been inseparable since their days at Boston University almost ten years before, and form the Dirty Girls Social Club. The group provides them all with a lifeline of mutual support and admiration, no matter what fate befalls them, and apparently, theres plenty of misadventures among the triumphs of everyday life.
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
Krakauer is the respected author of such outdoor-based books as “Eiger Dreams,“ “Into the Wild,“ and “Into Thin Air.“ His literary reputation rests on the insightful forays into lives conducted at fringe of extremes. In his latest, he moves to new territory in the extremes of religious belief within American borders. The book centers around a double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who say they received a mandate from God to kill their innocent victims. In examining it, Krakauer constructs a “multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith,“ all of which sounds quite chilling. As part of the process of examining an offshoot of Americas fastest-growing religion, he raises questions about the nature of religious belief itself.
Getting Mothers Body by Suzan-Lori Parks
Parks is a novelist, playwright, songwriter, and screenwriter who found time to write “Topdog/Underdog,“ the play that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Clearly gifted and versatile, she has a staggering range of exciting projects on the horizon, now that she has completed this novel about Billy Beede, the teenage daughter of the “fast-running, no-account, and six-years-dead Willa Mae.“ One day, Billy receives a letter saying that Willa Maes burial spot in Arizona is about to become a grocery store, and as her only daughter, she has to take possession of the body, but in doing so, may also become the caretaker of a cache of jewels believe to be buried with her. Needless to say, all of the characters who knew Willa Mae also have a stake in finding out if the gems really exist, which sounds like great fodder, especiallay in the hands of such a talented and distinctive voice as Parks. I, for one, cant wait to see what she does next.
Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
Ill check out this one right after “Dirty Girls Social Club“ and right before “The Devil Wears Prada.“ Author Keyes is a phenomenally successful writer whose name alone guarantees sales, but the flip side of that coin is that she has a smart, funny, disarming style, even when cranking out what some might suspiciously view as “chick-lit.“ Her latest appears to stay within the parameters of her template for guilty pleasure reading, and in this outing, she follows three fabulous women on their search for happiness, and other fabulous things. I know, I know - Stephen Jay Gould this is not, but the potential here for a great beach read? Priceless.
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
You can admit it. Arent you the least little bit curious about what Hillarys reaction was to learning about hubby Bills dalliance with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky? After all, weve heard everyone else (pretty much) give their side of events, why not those from the now-Senator from New York who some expect to make a Presidential run herself someday? Clinton has promised that this will be a no-holds barred accounting of her personal and political life, and if she delivers on that, this promises to be an honest and provocative memoir from one of the nations most respected and reviled women. The book, by the way, is due out this week, and one can expect a flood of media attention to accompany it.