Whether you’re heading to the beach or need a distraction from the heat, put these on your summer reading list. All titles were selected by Tucson Citizen book reviewer Larry Cox.
By Joseph O’Neill (Pantheon, $23.95)
In this story of heritage and home, friendship and love, a Europeaan man living in post-9/11 Manhattan is troubled by two loves, the one that he has for his wife and the other his adopted country. This is our country as seen from an outsider’s vantage point and the complicated relationship between the American dream and the particular dreamers.
By Heather MacDowell and Rose MacDowell (Dial Press, $24)
This smart, slick, wickedly observant novel takes readers behind the scenes for a glimpse into what really goes on at one of Manhattan’s most exclusive restaurants. Inspired by their many years of waiting tables at some of the best – and worst – eateries in Manhattan, Nantucket and San Francisco, Erin, the main character, finds she is in hot water with both the egomaniacal celebrity chef and the restaurant owner’s outrageous wife.
‘Late Night Talking’
By Leslie Schnur (Washington Square Press, $14, paperback)
In this charming book about bad behavior, Jeannie Sterling, a 30-something late-night talk show host hell-bent on resurrecting civility in a world gone rude, discovers that her carefully constructed, disciplined life begins to unravel when her long-absent father shows up on her doorstep and a dreamboat from college days decides he’s in love with her.
By Annie Dillard (HarperPerennial, $13.95, paperback)
In her first novel in more than 15 years from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Annie Dillard serves up the story of Toby and Lou Maytree and their decades of loving and longing. The simplicity of her story contributes to both its power and grace. USA Today calls it a treasure.
‘The Year of the Boat: Beauty, Imperfection, and the Art of Doing It Yourself ‘
By Lawrence W. Cheek (Sasquatch Books, $23.95)
Wooden sailboats are more than mere vessels; they inspire lust. The author, an architecture critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, discovers that building a boat is the perfect antidote for his chronic perfectionism. During his work he learns to discern the tidal waves of his project – cycles of fatigue and discouragement alternating with optimism and the joys of accomplishment. This wonderful, inspiring book tells the winning story of how one man built a wooden sailboat in spite of himself.
‘Cats in May’
By Doreen Tovey (St. Martin’s Press, $18.95)
Ever since it was first published some 40 years ago, the story of Tovey’s two incorrigible Siamese cats – Sheba and Solomon – have delighted readers throughout the world. Now in a new edition with 20 delightful black and white illustrations, the tales of these two felines are ready for rediscovery by a new generation of cat lovers.
‘The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming’
By Jeannie Ralston (Broadway Books, $23.95)
This is a true story of love and compromise. Jeannie Ralson, a New York-based writer, and her husband Robb, a busy National Geographic photographer, agree to leave the Big Apple and relocate to rural Texas so they can finally start a family. As she struggles to reconcile her life plans and goals with her husband’s without coming out a proverbial loser, she seems to be losing the battle but suddenly a little purple bloom changes everything.
‘The Call of the Weird: Encounters with Survivalists, Porn Stars, Alien Killers, and Ike Turner’
By Louis Theroux (Da Capo, $15.95 paperback)
Is there something particularly weird about Americans? Louis Theroux, the king of offbeat documentaries, searches for the answer while mixing it up with an assortment of some of our more colorful natives.
‘Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living’
By Doug Fine (Villard, $24)
Fine, a frequent contributor to NPR, lives in a remote valley in New Mexico. Even though he loves his creature comforts, he wonders if it is possible to keep his Netflix and his car, his Wi-Fi and his subwoofers, while still reducing his carbon footprint. Both a hilarious romp and an inspiring call to go green, this is perfect summer reading.
‘The 33-Year Old Rookie: How I Finally Made It to the Big Leagues After 11 Years in the Minors’
By Chris Coste (Ballantine, $25)
Coste dreamed of playing major-league baseball from the age of 7. After 11 grueling years in the minors, he refused to give up his dream. When the call from the Philadelphia Phillies came in 2006, Coste proved he was ready to head for the big time. This inspirational book takes readers through the 2006 spring training and offers an intimate look at the life of one of baseball’s most remarkable players.
‘The O’Henry Prize Stories’
Edited by Laura Furman (Anchor, $14.95)
This outstanding collection of contemporary fiction features work by such writers as William Trevor, Richard McCann, Alice Munro and Rebecca Curtis. In short, 20 prize-winning stories judged to be among the best of the year.
‘I Was Told There Would Be Cake’
By Sloane Crosley (Riverhead Books, $14, paperback)
In this lively collection of essays, Crosley ignites the literary fun with her very first sentence. Hilarious, wry and knowing, the work of this writer rearranges the furniture in your head.
‘Nick of Time: An Adventure Through Time’
By Ted Bell (St. Martin’s Griffin, $17.95)
Move over, Nancy Drew, Nick is the hero of the summer. Set in England in 1939, Nick and his younger sister, Kate, live in a lighthouse on the smallest of the Channel Islands. Nick and Kate discover an old sea chest and inside, a time machine. When he sets the machine to return to 1805, the adventure truly begins. This book is a rollicking tale that will have young readers guessing until the final pages.
By Alyson Noel (St. Martin’s Press, $8.95, paperback)
In this novel geared for young adults, Colby is having a wretched summer. Her parents are in the middle of a messy divorce and they send her away to spend the season on a remote island in Greece. As she prepares to leave, she wonders if her new friends will forget her while she is away?