Wanna hear an ugly secret?
There is no summer reading season. Not really. Not officially or anything. More books are sold in the fall. More books are published in the spring. Yet here we are, on the cusp of the mythical Summer Reading Season, an annual affliction so ingrained in the culture that this year there s even a light beach read helpfully titled Summer Reading. The cover acts as a manual to summer reading, an illustration to what you will need: there s a green lawn and a blue work shirt flung over a white folding chair.
That s it precisely.
Between laziness and labor, that s where summer reading rests its head, or so said Henry Ward Beecher. And that guy died 50 years before Jackie Collins was born. Today, The Blade offers a summer reading guide that s a little this, a little that suggestions, interviews, a look at the state of summer reading lists. One problem: You thought summer began this Thursday, June 21, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. But summer, this year, starts July 21, the day of the final Harry Potter. If you plan to get in line for a copy, there s your actual longest day.
June (or already in stores)
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman; less an act of Wicked-y revisionism than an Incredibles-ish delve into the mundane reality of a supervillain. Clever, not cute. (In stores).
Stalin s Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith; Gorky Park s Detective Renko returns, digs into Putin s Russia, and finds those report s of Stalin s ghost spotted on a Moscow subway platform lead to a sinister subtext. (In stores).
Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen; his first collection of humor pieces in 25 years, including 10 new ones (the rest come from the New Yorker). Topics include levitation, truffles, Michael Ovitz, and nannies. (In stores).
New England White by Stephen L. Carter; the follow-up to his well-received Emperor of Ocean Park dives back into the black upper class, this time to explore how murder in a college town exposes underlying, unspoken racial tensions. (July 2).
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling; the final installment of a small, obscure adventure series about an English schoolboy wizard (July 21).
The Water s Lovely by Ruth Rendell; a family s denial of a decades-old crime rears up in Rendell s latest suspense tale. An exquisite airport read. (July 17).
Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup; memoir from a mother of four who lost her husband then took up his ministry and became a chaplain on the search-and-rescue missions of Maine game wardens. Being hugely hyped by booksellers. (Aug. 1).
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan; you want a beach read but you don t want to set your brain aside? Horan s debut tells a fictionalized account of the scandalous affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and mistress Mamah Cheney. (Aug. 7).
Beautiful Boy: A Father s Journey Through His Son s Meth Addiction by David Sheff; expanding the harrowing piece he wrote for the New York Times Magazine, Sheff painfully reconstructs how his son s addiction tore through his family. (Aug. 7).