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Plan your summer escape, or adventure, with some good books


I read books for a living. And when I go on vacation? I read more books.

For most people, though, digging into a much-anticipated book is a vacation luxury, not a busman's holiday. Here's a guide to some of this season's hot new titles to help you decide what to pack in your beach tote or download to your e-reader before you leave the workaday world behind.

Colette Bancroft, Times book editor

If you loved The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and its sequels for their icy psychological thrills ...

Then try Jo Nesbo's The Snowman (Knopf, May). The Norwegian crime novelist was a regular on bestseller lists in his own country before Lisbeth Salander ever got her first ink, but his work is just now being translated into English. The Snowman, the seventh book in his series about tough Oslo police detective Harry Hole, is a tense thriller about the mysterious disappearances of a dozen women.

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Buried Prey (Putnam, May) by John Sandford

Fallen (Delacorte, June) by Karin Slaughter

If you loved Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw for its revelations of new ways of thinking about subjects we think we understand ...

Then try The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry (Riverhead, May), the fascinating and often disturbing true story of Jon Ronson's investigative trip down the rabbit hole into the world of defining, diagnosing and treating mental illness.

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Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base (Little, Brown, May) by Annie Jacobsen

Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks (Pantheon, June) by Juliet Eilperin

If you loved Jennifer Weiner's Fly Away Home for its wise and witty look at the lives of people grappling with personal setbacks ...

Then try Ten Beach Road (Berkley, May) by former Tampa Bay area resident Wendy Wax. This warm, wry novel brings together three women whose only connection is that they're victims of the same massive Ponzi scheme. Now they're scrambling to make something of their joint surviving investment — a crumbling Mediterranean Revival mansion on the beach in Pass-a-Grille.

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No One in the World (Simon & Schuster, June) by E. Lynn Harris and R.M. Johnson

Silver Girl (Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown, June) by Elin Hilderbrand

If you loved The Da Vinci Code for its wildly intricate conspiratorial plot ...

Then try The Jefferson Key (Ballantine, May), Steve Berry's latest secret-conspiracy thriller. This time, globetrotting freelance spy Cotton Malone doesn't even have to cross the border to find skullduggery (with pirates!) embedded in American history.

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Portrait of a Spy (Harper, July) by Daniel Silva

Trader of Secrets (William Morrow, May) by Steve Martini

If you loved Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger for its dishy celebrity biography and glimpses of a glamorous bygone era ...

Then try Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank (Crown, May) by Barbara Sinatra, a star-studded memoir by Frank Sinatra's fourth and longest-lasting wife, who reveals that he often wasn't easy to live with but was "the most romantic man I had ever met."

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Robert Redford: The Biography (Knopf, May) by Michael Feeney Callan

Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias (Little, Brown, June) by Don Van Natta

If you loved Faithful Place by Tana French for its suspenseful contemporary mystery haunted by the ghosts of the past ...

Then try The Ridge (Little, Brown, June) by part-time St. Petersburg resident Michael Koryta. His second book this year (The Cypress House was set on Florida's gulf coast), this one is the chilling story of mysterious deaths and other strange events in and around a big-cat sanctuary in rural Kentucky.

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A Death in Summer (Henry Holt, July) by Benjamin Black

The Most Dangerous Thing (William Morrow, August) by Laura Lippman

If you loved Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne for its compelling narrative about a little-known slice of history ...

Then try The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Simon & Schuster, May) by David McCullough, a fascinating re-creation of a distant time and place — Paris in the 19th century — with a cast that includes Oliver Wendell Holmes and Samuel Morse.

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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (Crown, May) by Erik Larson

The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June) by Earl Swift

If you loved A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan for its literary bravura and insight into relationships ...

Then try The Summer Without Men (Picador, April) by Siri Hustvedt. This slim novel displays her literary chops in an acerbically witty story about a middle-aged woman who returns to her childhood home to recover from a mental breakdown after her longtime husband asks her for a "pause" in their marriage: "The Pause was French with limp but shiny brown hair. She had significant breasts that were real, not manufactured, narrow rectangular glasses, and an excellent mind."

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Emily, Alone (Viking, May) by Stewart O'Nan

My New American Life (Harper, April) by Francine Prose

If you loved Keith Richards' Life for its no-holds-barred look inside the evolution of rock 'n' roll ...

Then try Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 (Da Capo, May) by David Browne, which incorporates more than 100 interviews to tell the intertwined stories of the artists who made the iconic albums of a pivotal year in cultural history.

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Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? (HarperCollins, May) by Steven Tyler

See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody (Little, Brown, June) by Bob Mould

If you loved The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for its fictional treatment of a historical era ...

Then try Dreams of Joy (Random House, May) by Lisa See, in which the author revisits Pearl and May, the sisters in her earlier novel Shanghai Girls, recounting their changing lives in rural China during the People's Republic's "Great Leap Forward" in the late 1950s.

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22 Britannia Road (Pamela Dorman Books, April) by Amanda Hodgkinson

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Penguin, May) by Monique Roffey

If you loved Autobiography of Mark Twain for its glimpses into the mind of a writer ...

Then try What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May), edited by Suzanne Marrs, 50 years of remarkable letters between one of the greats of 20th century fiction and her editor at the New Yorker, himself a notable literary figure.

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The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting With the Angels Who Have Returned With My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, the Gladyses, & Babe: A Memoir (New Press, May) by Alice Walker

Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir (Gotham Books, June) by Oscar Hijuelos

Plan your summer escape, or adventure, with some good books 06/01/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 6, 2011 12:49pm]
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