Laze away the summer with page-turners in multiple genres
This summer reading list is a picnic with fiction of every flavor: fantasy, thriller, romance, satire and the ever-popular genre of books about people going to the beach.
"Cutting Teeth," by Julia Fierro: An ensemble of Park Slope parents you'll love to hate take their playgroup to a shabby summer cottage on the Gold Coast. Everybody's got problems and burning secrets, including the nanny, "the Tibetan Mary Poppins."
Will Grace have another baby? Will Tiffany put some clothes on? Will Nicole have to go back on Zoloft? Is the world about to end? All will be revealed by Labor Day. (St. Martin's, out now)
"The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair," by Joel Dicker: A literary thriller by a Swiss 20-something who spent summers in New England, this 670-page translation from the French has taken Europe by storm.
Its narrator, young novelist Marcus Goldman, is in a sophomore slump when his mentor, Harry Quebert, is arrested for the murder of a 15-year-old girl he was in love with 30 years earlier. Mad page-turning ensues. (Penguin, out now)
"The Vacationers," by Emma Straub: Off to Mallorca with the Post family: parents celebrating their 35th, daughter just graduated from high school, older son and his girlfriend, a gay couple who are close friends.
Unfortunately, Dad has just lost his job as editor of a men's magazine for reasons that put a damper on the anniversary celebration. Great characters, delicious setting. (Riverhead, out now)
"Summer House with Swimming Pool," by Herman Koch: Dutch author Koch's reputation for creating irresistible stories about nasty people doing nasty things was established last summer with "The Dinner," now on its way to a screen adaptation directed by Cate Blanchett.
This year's model focuses on the shady doings of a celebrity doctor whose star patient dies not long after he may have raped the doc's teenage daughter during a stay at their villa on the Mediterranean. (Hogarth, June 3)
"Abroad," by Katie Crouch: Those who couldn't get enough of the Amanda Knox trial will enjoy the nasty, deadly adventures of an Irish girl who falls in with a bad crowd during her year of study in Italy. Sex games, jealousy, mean girls, money, booze, ancient Umbrian secrets, strange American roommate — it's all on the syllabus. (Sarah Crichton Books, June 17)
"The Last Magazine," by Michael Hastings: "My name is Michael M. Hastings and I'm in my twenties." The first sentence of this novel about an ambitious intern at New York newsmagazine is made poignant by the fact that the author, the nonfictional Michael Hastings, was killed in a car crash last year. His reporting from Iraq, Afghanistan and Washington is the basis of this debut novel, a behind-the-scenes eyepopper for politics and news junkies. (Blue Rider, June 17)
"One Plus One," by Jojo Moyes: Housecleaner, bartender and single mom Jess Thomas can't make ends meet — and tech mogul Ed Nicholl has woes at the other end of the financial spectrum. Beloved British chick-lit author Moyes brings the two together on the side of the road, where Jess is standing beside a broken-down Rolls-Royce with her two oddball kids and giant dog. They were on their way to a math Olympiad in Scotland when a cop pulled her over. Now they're en route to a love story. (Pamela Dorman Books, July 1)
"The Wolf," by Lorenzo Carcaterra: Carcaterra ("Sleepers," "Law and Order") moves a story like nobody's business — by page 16, we're two terrorist attacks in, the first in a piazza in Florence, the second on Delta Flight 33, LAX to JFK, including among its victims the wife and young daughters of the man who runs what he calls the United Nations of Crime, a global Mafia of unprecedented power. "My name is Vincent Marelli and I own your life." For 291 pages, anyway. (Ballantine, July 29)
"The Magician's Island," by Lev Grossman: The conclusion of a fantasy trilogy that began with "The Magicians" and "The Magician King," a series that has won raves for its adult take on the wizard-school theme. The concluding volume finds now nearly 30-year-old Quentin Coldwater kicked out of the magical land of Fillory, back teaching at his alma mater, Brakebills, when he is once again called on to save the world. If you're not already on board, binge reading beckons. (Viking, Aug. 5)
"Dear Committee Members,: by Julie Schumacher: A skinny wink of a novel, this academic satire is composed entirely of letters written by miserable Midwestern MFA professor Jay Fitger to his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, his agent and a never-ending list of institutions to whom he is asked to address letters of recommendation for his students and colleagues. (Doubleday, Aug. 19)